Nuno Espirito Santo ‘totally confident’ Raul Jimenez will return this season

Raul Jimenez
(Image credit: John Walton)

Nuno Espirito Santo say he is “totally confident” striker Raul Jimenez will return to action before the end of the season.

Jimenez has been sidelined since fracturing his skull in the Premier League win at Arsenal in November when clashing heads with David Luiz.

The 29-year-old has returned to light training at Compton Park and when Nuno was asked how confident he was that the Mexican would be back before the season ends on May 23, he said: “Totally confident, for sure.”

Jimenez scored 27 goals in all competitions for Wolves last season and seven in 15 appearances for club and country during the current campaign before his shocking collision with Luiz.

“The speed (of his recovery) is the speed that we need to follow,” Nuno said. “We have to be very aware of the circumstances and avoid any kind of contact.

“He’s been able to participate in the initial part of the training sessions. Just him being with his teammates is a big help for him, and for us.

“We are following the right protocols with no rush, but we’re delighted Raul is getting better and better day by day. It’s fantastic for us.”

Following Jimenez’s shocking injury, Wolves won only one of their next 11 league games, prompting suggestions the Mexico international was sorely missed.

But Nuno is satisfied his side have coped and, after an upturn in results this month, they will bid to extend their current unbeaten run to five games at Newcastle on Saturday.

“All the team that have lost important players have problems,” Nuno said. “But it’s up to us to find solutions.

“Some of them I can mention take some time because of all the routines of the team, a special player like Raul.

“But I think we’ve been able to find the right way to improve our players, so the absence of Raul is not important and the squad has reacted well.

“We are playing good, we’re trying to improve our game. This is what it’s all about.

“Since the moment Raul was no longer with us we have tried to find solutions and the players have been giving everything.”

Nuno will still be without centre-half Willy Boly (hamstring) and winger Daniel Podence (hip)  for the trip to St James’ Park.

Brazilian defender Fernando Marcal is also unavailable after being forced out of last week’s home win against Leeds.

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