Luciano Becchio will begin his comeback next week as Leeds United ready the striker for his first appearance of the season against Crystal Palace on September 10.
In a major boost to the Elland Road club, United manager Simon Grayson confirmed that Becchio is due to commence full training in the next seven days after completing his recovery from hamstring surgery.
The Argentinian forward – United’s top scorer last season with 20 goals – has played no part in the opening stages of their Championship term after a ruptured tendon forced him to go under the knife last month, but he is aiming to return at the end of the international break which follows Saturday’s clash with Paul Jewell’s Ipswich Town in Suffolk.
Palace come to Elland Road a fortnight later and Leeds have tentatively pencilled in Becchio for an outing in that fixture, four months after his last first-team appearance.
Grayson said: “He’s coming along okay and he’s looking to get back into training with the first team by the back end of next week. That’s obviously going to be a huge plus for us.”
Becchio was one of two prominent Leeds strikers lost to injury during the early stages of United’s pre-season schedule.
Davide Somma suffered serious knee ligament damage in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Thorp Arch and Becchio was sent for an operation after returning early from United’s summer mini-tour to Scotland.
His hamstring problem was a recurrence of an injury suffered towards the end of last term.
United opted against committing him to surgery in early May and Becchio underwent a period of rest and recuperation in Spain instead, but he returned to the treatment room within days of reporting back to Thorp Arch