Cheltenham Town manager Martin Allen is hopeful that injury-jinxed midfielder John Finnigan will be back in first-team action within a matter of weeks.
The 32-year-old has not featured for the Robins since October 2007 due to ongoing heel problems, but lasted half an hour of a recent practice match against Bristol Rovers.
Allen told the Western Daily Press: "It has been a very frustrating time for John.
"I am hoping he will stay injury-free now because he is a very good player, an influential leader and a good character to have around the dressing room.
"He is well ahead of schedule and is champing at the bit to get back. I think he will be ready well before Christmas because he is that sort of courageous person."