"He is back training with the group, which is pleasing from everyone's point of view," said Hughes. He is travelling with us and we will make a decision [on his fitness] tomorrow. "It could be a bit early for him to be involved, but certainly he will be in the frame for next week's game against Hull."As I've mentioned I don't see any circumstance whereby Robinho starts at Anfield but his return to the side is clearly not far away.
An interesting point to contemplate though is quite where he fits into the side. Hughes's preference for the most part of late has been a more rigid 4-4-2 than the 4-3-3 seen earlier in the season. The assumption has been that Robinho would slot in on the left hand side where he featured most often during 2008/09, but a 4-4-2 set up renders a Robinho on the left hand side largely impotent given he does not possess the defensive qualities required for a more withdrawn position in this formation. The 4-3-3 of course clearly allows for Robinho in a more advanced and attacking role, where his talents can be utilised more effectively.
If Hughes is intent on persisting with the 4-4-2 then, the only position Robinho can fit in is as one of the front two - and this could well be the most effective position for him. Playing as the 'off' striker to an Adebayor or Santa Cruz, he would be in a more dangerous, advanced role and able to then link with Bellamy, Wright-Phillips and an advancing midfield. His goalscoring record during 2008/09 was also an impressive one.
His absence through injury has done nothing to dampen the stories and interest about him, and for the most part the concensus opinion has been that Robinho would struggle mightily to even get near the starting line-up.
Now he has virtually regained full-fitness, he is on the cusp of a return and whilst he may be eased back into the starting line-up I don't see Hughes discounting him for long.
Which could be bad news for Carlos Tevez.