Hull City pair Jackson Irvine and Kamil Grosicki will have just two weeks to regain match fitness ahead of the new Championship season following the conclusion of their World Cup adventures.
Irvine and Grosicki both enjoyed career highlights at the showpiece event in Russia last month, making their debuts at the World Cup finals with Australia and Poland respectively.
Neither was able to help their nation through the group stages when falling at the first hurdle but Nigel Adkins must wait before welcoming Irvine and Grosicki back into the City fold.
Both players have begun a three-week break in the wake of leaving Russia, meaning they are not due to return to East Yorkshire for another fortnight.
City’s friendlies at home to Newcastle on July 24 and away to Barnsley four days later are likely to be the only opportunities for Irvine and Grosicki to sharpen up fitness levels and that will inevitably cast doubt over their involvement in the season’s curtain raiser against Aston Villa on August 6.
Adkins will hope to see his threadbare squad bolstered in the meantime but there will be a reluctance to push either player at the start of a demanding first month.
The televised visit of Villa could be the first of eight games inside 27 days depending on City’s involvement in the Carabao Cup, with both Irvine and Grosicki then facing the potential of call-ups during the September international break.
Irvine is set for a big role under Adkins this season after establishing himself as a dependable figure last term, but it remains to be seen if Grosicki will stay at the KCOM Stadium.
The 30-year-old will seek talks with City upon his arrival back in the fold as he weighs up his long-term future. Grosicki still has another two years to run on his deal but has previously stated his belief that he belongs on a higher stage than the Championship.
City will be compensated by FIFA for the late arrival of Irvine and Grosicki during pre-season. As part of the club benefits programme set up by the World Cup organisers, roughly £170,000 will be given to the Tigers because of the two players’ involvement in Russia.