Kuyt may be out for longer than month, says Hodgson

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Roy Hodgson fears Dirk Kuyt's recovery period from a shoulder injury could be longer than the original estimation of a month.

"It could be more than four weeks," the Liverpool manager said. "It's one of those injuries where it's very difficult for the doctor to say and I think four weeks is a very conservative estimate. If we're lucky, it could be earlier, but it could be longer. We have to be careful because it's the type of injury that has to be treated with respect.

"It's a great blow for us because Dirk is an important member of our team. He does a job which is not easy to replace because he has all the qualities required for that role on the field. I was very sad to see such a thing happen, especially in a training session.

"He's a quick mender and he has a great mentality and attitude towards recovery, so he will be back as quick as is humanly possible." Kuyt himself is hopeful of being fit for the Reds' Europa League trip to his former club Utrecht at the end of this month.

Kuyt's injury was in danger of leaving Liverpool short up front, with David Ngog struggling with a hamstring injury. The 21-year-old, who has four goals this season, was withdrawn from France Under-21 duty but Hodgson is hopeful he will be available for Sunday's trip to Birmingham.

"He has been nursing a problem but is much better now," he said. "I am hoping that he will recover in time for this weekend. We have nursed him through and hopefully he will train either today or Friday."

Fabio Aurelio, though, remains on the sidelines with an Achilles problem. Hodgson added: "Fabio is making very good progress and is definitely moving in the right direction. It was a relatively minor problem but one we had to nip in the bud because Achilles injuries can be very problematic."

The Co-operative Bank came to the rescue of Sheffield Wednesday in the High Court yesterday by settling the football club's debts with the taxman. Hilary Stonefrost, representing the bank, said it was prepared to pay the £703,000 debt if HM Revenue and Customs withdrew its winding-up petitions.

The League One club was given 28 days last month to pay up after High Court registrar Peter Nicholls was told the football club had already made a "substantial payment". Hugo Groves, representing the club, had asked for the adjournment of the winding-up petitions after saying money from the sale of players had been used to reduce the outstanding PAYE balance. "There are also very advanced negotiations for the sale of the club," he said.