(Image: ITV)

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Emmerdale fans have become convinced that the Tate clan will grow once more after spotting a crucial clue earlier on this week.

Fan favourite Joe Tate could make a comeback after his name was mentioned during the soap's Thursday episode.

And we all know that when an off-screen character's name is spoken about, the likelihood of them returning or a storyline surrounding them will pop up.

Joe mysteriously disappeared two years ago after seemingly being killed by Graham.

Moira Dingle mentioned Joe Tate's name last night
(Image: ITV)

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Initially, Cain Dingle believed that he had killed Joe after punching him in the head and struggled for months over the guilt.

However, it was later revealed that Graham 'disposed' of Joe after being asked to by employer Kim, who was not happy with him over how he had been running Home Farm and spending her money.

After much time had passed, however, Joe was revealed to be alive after being spotted on CCTV abroad, infuriating Kim.

Joe was punched by Cain Dingle, who was wracked with guilt for months believing he'd killed him
(Image: ITV)

Joe is still abroad, hiding from Kim, but could he return?
(Image: ITV)

Last night, viewers watched as Moira desperately tried to change Cain's mind about hurting Jamie.

Cain is full of rage after seeing how Jamie's manipulation of Belle has caused her mental health to spiral.

Moira brought up his past with Jamie, telling him: "Do you remember what happened with Joe?"

Unsurprisingly, this mention sparked a flurry of speculation on Twitter as fans predicted Joe could return.

One tweeted: "Jamie needs to brought down a peg or to. Jamie deserves punishment for the things he has done in the village. Unlike Joe's punch which was an accident #Emmerdale."

While another commented in excitement: "Joe mention!!! #Emmerdale."

*Emmerdale airs weekdays at 7pm on ITV, with additional episodes at 8pm on Thursdays