Cheryl Cole is set to return to work this week after recovering from malaria, according to the Sunday Mirror.

The paper reports that the 26-year-old – who pulled out of the last stage of X Factor auditions and boot camp after contracting the potentially fatal disease – has been in talks with show bosses about recording an interview for spin-off show The Xtra Factor.

Filming would take place at the end of the week in the grounds of Cheryl’s Surrey home.

She has also reportedly been in touch with Simon Cowell about returning to the show in time for the judges’ houses stage, which is due to take place in August.

And according to the paper she has been joking with the mogul by text, warning him not to save the best acts for himself while she is off and Dannii Minogue is on maternity leave.

“Cheryl is a fighter and this has been the fight of her life,” a source said. “She’s put all her energy into getting better and it looks like it’s paid off. The fact she’s cracking jokes again is a wonderful sign that the feisty old Cheryl is returning.

“Simon has told her he can’t wait to have her back on board.”

Cheryl was diagnosed with malaria earlier this month after collapsing at a photo shoot. She spent a week in intensive care before transferring to a private clinic to continue her recovery.

She has been looked after by her mum Joan since leaving the hospital last week, as well as being treated by a live-in nurse. Reports suggest she may keep the nurse on call when she returns to work full-time.

The Girls Aloud singer is thought to have contracted the disease while on holiday in Tanzania with her friend Derek Hough.