Skrtel and Aurelio close to return

Injured defenders Martin Skrtel and Fabio Aurelio could make a return to action early next month.

Injured defenders Martin Skrtel and Fabio Aurelio could make a return to action early next month.

Aurelio strained his right thigh in the 2-1 win over Blackburn on February 28 and his absence has caused problems for manager Rafael Benitez as it has left him with only Emiliano Insua at left-back.

The 21-year-old has been exposed in recent weeks, notably by Wigan’s Charles N’Zogbia and Manchester United’s Antonio Valencia, but Benitez has had no option but to continue playing the Argentinian.

Aurelio’s return cannot come quick enough to give Insua a break as a difficult season looks like it has taken its toll.

Centre-back Skrtel’s absence has not been noticed as much as Benitez has been able to call on a combination of Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger and Sotirios Kyrgiakos.

The Slovakian has been out since breaking a metatarsal in his right foot in the Europa League tie against Unirea Urziceni in Romania on February 25.

“Both are still injured and will need some time, but it’s only a question of a couple of weeks. It depends for each one,” said Benitez.

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