Cahill returns to Red Bulls training

Socceroo Tim Cahill has resumed New York Red Bulls training after a hamstring injury and is close to a playing return according to coach Mike Petke.

Cahill limped off after less than half an hour in New York’s draw with Chivas USA late last month, but Monday marked his return to the training field, albeit not at full pace.

The Australian had struggled for form at club level prior to the injury and Socceroos fans will be hoping he can re-discover his best in the lead-up to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil where he’ll play a key role.

Cahill’s return could be as soon as Thursday when New York take on Philadelphia Union (9.30am AEST), with the Red Bulls desperate for the 34-year-old’s influence after a poor start to the campaign which has seen them go six games without a win.

Petke said 2013 MLS Best XI selection Cahill, along with injured defender Armando, were closing in on competitive returns.

“Armando and Tim were out here today, not going full but out there participating,” Petke told reporters after Monday’s training. “They’re looking alright and they're coming close.

“They're knocking on the door. We will get a report on them after practice and see where their role is.”

Petke had hinted the Australian might be used as a substitute ahead of last weekend’s 1-0 loss to DC United given his ability to recover quickly.

Red Bulls turned in an improved performance in the loss to United, but missed Cahill’s golden touch in the final third.