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Marco Silva believes that a specialist training programme devised by Fulham’s medical staff has helped Tom Cairney put his longstanding knee problems behind him.

The Fulham head coach tasked the club’s head of performance, Bruno Mundes, and new medical supremo – Chris Hanson – to come up with an individual training plan that would allow Cairney to make progress in his recovery from persistent knee problems without pain after the midfielder managed to take part in only one session following Silva’s appointment at Craven Cottage. The result saw the playmaker return to full training quicker than expected – and mark his first appearance in ten months with the opening goal against Cardiff City last night.

Silva hopes that emotional motion means that Cairney can put his injury nightmare in the past and that the Fulham skipper can make a significant contribution as the Whites look to secure an immediate return to the top flight. He told his post-match press conference:

“Tom was in a specific situation when I arrived at the club. “As you know he had some problems last season and when he started working pre-season with his team-mates, we felt we couldn’t carry on this way with constant pain and we decided with Tom that we have to stop him.

“Now, maybe in the last three weeks, four weeks, he started to recover on the pitch – not feeling the same pain. Of course he is not in his best physical condition. He has to improve and if the game is really intense for 90 minutes, of course he will struggle a bit, but the good thing is he’s not feeling pain any more in his knee.

I think we did the right thing with him there. He’s worked really hard. It was tough to see him always in the gym when we went to the pitch. It’s part of the life of a professional footballer, but it’s good to see him again and let’s hope in the future the pain won’t come back again and we can see Tom playing at his best level again.”