Ben Youngs is on track for return to Leicester Tigers side
Leicester Tigers have received a huge boost with the news that scrum-half Ben Youngs is set to return to action weeks ahead of schedule.
The 23-year-old could appear in a Tigers shirt as early as the Aviva Premiership trip to Sale on October 5.
Youngs, inset, had summer surgery on a shoulder injury he picked up while playing for England on their tour of South Africa in June.
Recent predictions had him being back in action towards the end of next month.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
But his rehab has gone so well that he is set to return in plenty of time for the huge Heineken Cup games at Toulouse and at home to the Ospreys.
"Ben Youngs should be available to play some part of the game against Sale," said Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill.
"He is doing really well, has been doing contact training and his shoulder is in good shape.
"His rehab has gone really well."
Youngs' return is just one of a number of positive news bulletins for Cockerill as his side prepare for the visit of an Exeter side this weekend that did the double against them last season.
Manu Tuilagi, who missed Saturday's defeat against Harlequins with a sore shoulder, is set to return, and lock Ed Slater could see his first action of the season after recovering from injury.
With Mathew Tait and Andy Forsyth both likely to play for the Development XV against Worcester on Monday, and lock Louis Deacon set to see his first action of the season following a shoulder injury at Sale, Cockerill finally had some good news during a season that has delivered a conveyor belt of bad news.
"Manu is okay. His shoulder is improving every day," said Cockerill.
"We are hoping he will be fit for the weekend and he should be.
"Tait and Forsyth will both be fit for Monday night in the A League."
"Louis Deacon may be fit as well, but we will see. He should be back potentially for Sale and, if not then, then certainly Toulouse.
"With Ed Slater, Tait and Forsyth coming back as well, we are starting to get what resembles a relatively healthy squad."