Wolverhampton Wanderers ace and Hwang Hee-chan special assistant Pedro Neto is closer to returning to action.

Wolverhampton posted a photo of Neto returning to training on the club’s official social media accounts on Monday (Nov. 21), saying he is “one step closer to recovery.”

The Portuguese winger went down suddenly in the 31st minute of the 10th round home game of the 2023/24 Premier League season against Newcastle United in October, which ended in a 2-2 draw, after sprinting forward and grabbing the back of his thigh. It was a clear sign of a hamstring injury, and the Wolverhampton bench and fans alike were left in suspense as Neto was unable to get up and was stretchered off the field.

Neto was eventually sidelined for over a month with the hamstring injury. Wolverhampton were disappointed to hear the news as Neto had one goal and seven assists in 10 league games this season. Despite missing seven games due to injury, Neto still leads the Premier League in assists.

As 2023 draws to a close, Wolverhampton have hinted that Neto has recovered enough to train and could be back on the pitch before the New Year.

Neto’s return is good news for Wolverhampton ahead of Boxing Day. Wolverhampton first host Chelsea in the 18th round of the league on January 24 at 10pm before traveling to Brentford in the 19th round on January 28. After the away fixtures, they’ll have a short break before hosting Everton on the 31st, before facing Brentford again in the FA Cup on January 6th of next year.

With such a demanding schedule, Neto’s return will be a welcome one. Currently tied for the Premier League lead in assists with Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) and Kieran Trippier (Newcastle) with seven, Neto was shortlisted for the Premier League’s September Player of the Month award alongside Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur) after scoring one goal and providing three assists in four games in September.

He didn’t win the award over Son, who scored six goals in four games, but he did beat out Hwang Hee-chan to be named Wolverhampton’s September Player of the Month.

Neto’s return is also good news for Hwang Hee-chan, Wolverhampton’s top scorer this season. South Korean striker Hwang Hee-chan has been a mainstay for Wolverhampton this season, establishing himself as one of the team’s key attackers.

After opening the season with eight goals and two assists in 17 Premier League games, he’s on pace for a career-high season. He also scored a goal in the League Cup, his ninth of the season. With two goals in his last five games, Hwang is tied for sixth in the Premier League with eight league goals.

Only five players have scored more Premier League goals than Hwang this season: Elling Holland (14 goals-Manchester City), Mohamed Salah (11 goals-Liverpool), Son Heung-min (10 goals-Tottenham Hotspur), Jerrod Bojan (10 goals-West Ham United), and Ollie Watkins (9 goals-Aston Villa).

In particular, Neto has formed a great partnership with Hwang Hee-chan, who has been Wolverhampton’s main man this season. Of Hwang’s eight goals in the league so far, three have come off passes from Neto. With Neto scoring six goals before his injury, Hwang has combined with Neto for half of his goals.

In the immediate future, Wolverhampton must face Premier League powerhouse Chelsea at Molineux Stadium. This season, Chelsea hasn’t lived up to its reputation, sitting in 10th place in the league, but it’s a team that has the ability to rise to the occasion and return to the top of the table.

With the game being at home, Wolverhampton will be looking to pick up three points, so expect the club to keep a close eye on Neto’s status to see if he is available. It will be interesting to see if we can’t wait to see Hwang and Neto back on the field together again, sharing the attacking duties.

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