Fulham right-back Kenny Tete could return to training during the international break according to manager Marco Silva, who spoke to The Athletic’s Peter Rutzler ahead of their home tie against Swansea City this evening.
The 25-year-old Dutch international suffered a severe hamstring injury in their 2-0 home win against Hull City last month, being withdrawn for Bobby De Cordova-Reid in the 32nd minute and missing seven competitive fixtures since then.
This was a blow to a Fulham side that had started Tete in each of their opening four games before his injury, drafting in Denis Odoi as his replacement.
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Despite not being Odoi’s fault, the Cottagers have lost their momentum since then, winning just two of their five league games without him and keeping just one clean sheet during those matches.
Tete was recruited by the west London side on their return to the Premier League last year, sealing a bargain £3m deal with Ligue 1 side Lyon for a right-back once touted for big things.
He made 22 top-flight appearances last term in his debut season in England – and will be desperate to guide the Cottagers back to the Premier League to avoid having to spend another year in the second tier.
In this quest to do this, he is in line to return to training next week, with Marco Silva saying: “During the international break, it’s possible he (Tete) could start work with the team.
“After the international break, I think we will start to see him involved with the team. Then once he is in his best physical condition, he’ll be involved in matches as well.”
Having Tete back can only be a boost for Fulham who will need all the quality and depth they can get if they want to secure a return to the Premier League.
They can’t afford to be dropping points – and on paper – you have to say it’s their performance levels that are letting them down for dropping points and not their quality.
Their lack of ruthlessness in front of goal may have been highlighted in the previous few games, and rightly so, because how they didn’t score more than one against Reading and Leeds United combined in two of their recent games is a mystery.
But their defence also needs to stop leaking goals, even if it’s just one per game. With this inability to be clinical in front of goal, they need the backline to step up and the return of Tete will only hope to increase competition and boost performance levels because of that.
The 25-year-old will be especially keen to get out of the second tier after playing in the Champions League for former side Lyon not so long ago. He is tied down to a long-term deal at Craven Cottage too, so it’s time to get to work.