David Wagner has dropped a strong hint that Huddersfield Town will take up their option to extend the contract of midfielder Jonathan Hogg for next season.
The former Watford man is currently recovering from a knee injury which will keep him out of an eighth game at Blackburn Rovers.
Asked if the 27-year-old would be back before the end of the Championship campaign (five more matches up to Brentford at home on May 7) the head coach answered: “We hope so.
“Our target is that he will play, but if not, he will be totally prepared for the start of pre-season.”
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Hogg, who began his career at Aston Villa, was a £400,000 signing from Watford in 2013, when he agreed a three-year deal with a 12-month option in the club’s favour.
The Middlesbrough-born player has made 82 starts and six substitute appearances, scoring once.
He damaged a medial collateral ligament during the 1-0 home defeat by Ipswich Town on February 27.
“Hoggy is working with the fitness coaches and is doing part of the training with the group,” added Wagner, who has Dean Whitehead, Philip Billing and on-loan Wigan Athletic man Emyr Huws as other options for the two deep midfielders in his 4-2-3-1 system.
“He is probably a couple of weeks off. We are unable to say for sure, but hope he will be back before the end of the season.”
Hogg came through Middlesbrough’s youth ranks before a 2009 move to Villa, where he made seven first-team appearances and had loan spells at Darlington and Portsmouth.
He joined Watford in 2011, and his 84 games included the 2013 Championship play-off final defeat by Crystal Palace at Wembley.
Town are in talks with skipper Mark Hudson over a new deal and have 12-month options on defender Martin Cranie and forward Karim Matmour.
Striker Ishmael Miller seems certain to leave while midfielder Duane Holmes has been on trial at Barnsley after being told he won’t be offered new terms.