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Northampton expect Hartley return this season

Omnisport logo Omnisport 23/03/2019 Nicholas McGee
a baseball player holding a racket: England and Northampton Saints' Dylan Hartley © Getty Images England and Northampton Saints' Dylan Hartley

Dylan Hartley is expected to return to action for Northampton Saints before the end of the season.

The hooker missed all of England's Six Nations campaign because of a knee injury that has kept him out since December.

But Northampton are confident of the England captain getting some game time for his club ahead of the World Cup in Japan.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: Dylan Hartley of England looks on during the England Training Session at Twickenham Stadium on November 23, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) © Getty Images LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: Dylan Hartley of England looks on during the England Training Session at Twickenham Stadium on November 23, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

"Dylan has been to the specialist. It was really positive," Northampton's director of rugby Chris Boyd said after Friday's win over Leicester Tigers.

"I'm not sure when, but I'm really optimistic Dylan will play some football before the end of the season.

"He might be three to six weeks, but he's in a really good space."

England face the Barbarians on June 2 and play four further warm-up games before their World Cup opener against Tonga on September 22.

Gallery: Predicted England squad for the Rugby World Cup (Read Sport)

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