The best spin to put on an injury is that the player will come back, and in the meantime a team will possibly have a fringe player step up and make an impact. We've been blessed with such opportunities this year due to a strong case of the injury bug. Thankfully we have two key players making returns from injury very soon: Tom Huddlestone and Ledley King. How are they going to integrate back into the starting XI?
Tom Huddlestone is definitely a player we've been missing out on since he picked up a knock in November (Yes, I am backtracking from an earlier story where I didn't include Big Tom in my ideal starting XI). The midfield play has suffered of late due to injuries (Gareth Bale, Rafael van der Vaart) and form (Wilson Palacios). Big Tom definitely brings a strong presence to the midfield, as well as deft passing. My only real complaint I have on Tom is that he tends to take shots from long range; having a cannon leg doesn't mean rocket anything from over 30 yards. That being said, I'm hoping to see a Huddlestone/Luka Modric central midfield in the next few weeks.
Blog namesake Ledley King finally found his passport, and after recovering from his surgery in Germany is set to train again in two weeks. His return from injury isn't as big of a deal as Huddlestone; Michael Dawson has returned from suspension and William Gallas is also coming back from an injury, so there will be other options at centerback. When healthy, King is definitely first choice but his ongoing knee troubles limit him to one match per week. Saving King for higher flight competition (i.e. Champions League matches and against any team on the top half of the EPL table) might be the best course of action, just so the bang for buck on Ledley's one match per week is felt.
Huddlestone's play will be more telling if the team is to finish top four; his distribution will help keep possession and spring the wingers, and maybe even get balls to the forwards so they can start scoring some goals. Despite being a vital member of the squad, there have been other centerbacks performing well this season (Gallas) that make King's return welcome for depth purposes but not necessarily for an EPL push.
Are you hoping for both Tom and Ledley back in the starting XI as soon as they're both healthy? What do they bring to the table that you're hoping to see? Does a top four finish more likely with one player, or both players back? Can the team finish top four without them?