Shearer `hopeful' of return

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The Independent Online
Blackburn are "hopeful" that Alan Shearer will make his return against his old club, Southampton, at The Dell, on Saturday, quashing speculation that he could be out for the season.

Shearer is responding well to a treatment and rest programme on a groin injury, which kept him out of the home defeat by Everton last weekend and broke a sequence of 107 consecutive League appearances.

"We are hoping that Alan will be back in training towards the end of the week and the injury is responding well," the club physiotherapist, Steve Foster, said.

However, news of the imminent return of the Premiership's leading scorer was tempered by Lars Bohinen's continuing struggle to regain fitness after missing seven games with a calf strain sustained during an international appearance against Spain.