Auty targets early return for Tigers

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n Stage three - today: Olonne-sur-Mer to Redon (198km). Expect a sprint finish - Mark Cavendish’s forte. But on American independence day Garmin-Cervelo’s Tyler Farrar will hope for success.

JOSH Auty has an outside chance of making a welcome return from injury for Sheffield in Thursday’s Premier League clash with Edinburgh at Owlerton.

Auty has been out for six-weeks with a broken ankle sustained in a World Under-21 qualifier but has made rapid progress in his recovery.

Now he is due to consult a specialist before making a final decision on whether to come back ahead of schedule.

The initial diagnosis was an absence of three months and Tigers have been able to book guests in his absence, but have also opted to share his rides amongst his colleagues with the rider replacement rule on occasions.

Sheffield co-promoter David Hoggart said: “Josh is itching to go, he wants to be back on a bike as quickly as possible, there is no question about that.

“But at the same time he has to be aware that we cannot – and he cannot – afford to take a gamble over something like this because if he comes back too soon it could rule him out for the rest of the season.

“But if he feels confident and ready, then it will be great to have the boy back in the team because he has been badly missed during his absence.

“The rest of the boys have been under a bit of pressure because they have had to cover for him and you can never guarantee what you are going to get from a guest replacement.

“We are holding off from booking a guest for Thursday until we know for sure what the situation is with Josh. We can even let him decide on Wednesday night if he wants to.”