MARTIN O’NEILL admits Ahmed Elmohamady could rejoin Hull City before or after transfer deadline day.
Elmohamady’s season-long loan switch with the promotion-chasing Tigers was cut-short this week when Sunderland exercised the recall clause in the Egyptian’s stint at the KC Stadium.
The 25-year-old is included in Sunderland’s squad for today’s trip to Wigan Athletic and is likely to remain with his parent club until O’Neill can add to his options before the end of the month.
But Elmohamady is expected to return to Hull eventually, although that could be on an emergency loan after the transfer window shuts on January 31.
There have been other clubs monitoring his progress, including Cardiff City, who are also leading the race for Hull’s other Sunderland target Fraizer Campbell.
But Elmohamady cannot sign for another club before the summer after representing both Sunderland and Hull this season.
“Obviously, Elmohamady has enjoyed himself immensely at Hull and he’s been playing regularly,” said O’Neill.
“Of course, he’d love to be starting games here and that’s something at the moment that I can’t absolutely guarantee.
“But he’s much fitter now because he’s played so many games. He’ll be in the squad today and we’ll have a look at him. We’ll see what develops over the next couple of weeks and there’s always the possibility of going back to Hull, even on an emergency loan after the transfer deadline has passed.”
The deadline for Sunderland to recall Elmohamady was midnight on Tuesday and O’Neill opted to activate the clause an hour after the FA Cup third round defeat to Bolton.
That came as a major blow to Hull, after Elmohamady has played an integral contribution in his 23 games for the Tigers, although O’Neill has since spoken with counterpart Steve Bruce.
O’Neill added: “We had to recall Elmo by midnight on Tuesday night, just after the game against Bolton.
“I didn’t have the chance to speak to Steve Bruce at that point and explain it was a possibility. The first thing we had to do was recall him, but I’ve had chance to speak to Steve since.”
Meanwhile, two Stadium of Light games next month have been rearranged for live television coverage.
Norwich’s visit to Wearside has moved back a day to Sunday, March 17 (kick-off 1.30pm) while the clash with Manchester United on Saturday, March 30 will now have a 12.45pm lunchtime kick-off.