Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell hopes to be back in first-team action soon after making a rapid recovery from a serious ankle injury.
The England Under-21 international stepped up his rehabilitation with an appearance for the Toffees reserves against Blackpool yesterday.
It was feared the 19-year-old could be out for up to three months when he suffered the injury nine weeks ago.
It first became apparent Rodwell was ahead of schedule when he was surprisingly named among the substitutes for last week's Barclays Premier League clash against Stoke.
Rodwell told the club's website, www.evertonfc.com: "Credit has to go to the medical team. I'm a few weeks ahead of schedule.
"I was meant to be out until Christmas time so I've done really well to get back by now. Now it's just a case of getting my confidence up and getting a bit of time on the pitch like I did against Blackpool.
"I'll get my head down, do some extra work in the gym and hopefully I'll get my chance again."