England defender Bridge, who damaged knee ligaments in the 2-1 win over his former club Chelsea, is unlikely to be back before the turn of the year but De Jong’s bout of swine flu may have cleared in time for him to face Spurs on Wednesday night.
While the Dutch ace trained alone in the gym on Monday, Bridge headed out for a visit to Wythenshawe Hospital with teammate Craig Bellamy where they spent 90minutes with poorly children.
After dishing out presents, sympathy, and good wishes Bridge reported that his progress had been pleasing.
“It is definitely a lot better,” he declared. “I am walking without a brace this week.
I will be having more intensive treatment this week and then hopefully doing some weight bearing stuff.
“I hope to be back at the start of the New Year. I don’t want to push too hard too soon because knee ligament can ‘go’ very easily. I will make sure that I am strong first but I will push it as hard as I can to be back as fast as I can.”
De Jong missed the 3-3 draw at Bolton on Saturday after being sent home unwell on Friday but if tests are positive will hopefully rejoin the rest of the group today with a view to taking his place in the squad for White Hart Lane.
Shaun Wright-Phillips, meanwhile, faces a battle to be fit in time after locking his ankle early on at the Reebok and being replaced by Stephen Ireland. A decision on his participation will be delayed for as long as possible.
Bellamy misses the visit to London as he serves a one-match ban for the two yellow cards received at Bolton on Saturday.