Stoke City midfielder Liam Lawrence believes he will be ready for a first-team return in time for the busy festive programme.
The 26-year-old former Mansfield Town star has been sidelined since the end of September after a bizarre incident when he injured his ankle when tripping over his dog.
Lawrence is hoping to resume full training within three weeks, telling The Sentinel: "I've never been out injured for this long before and it's so frustrating.
"The lads have done really well to put us in a good position, but I want to be a part of it.
"The surgeon told me a week ago that it would be four weeks before I would be in training and in contention.
"It should be another two to three weeks before I'm in full training and then, you never know, I might get a sniff after that.
"But I have to get fit because I haven't been able to do much for six weeks now.
"I've been swimming and trying to keep my fitness up in different ways, but it's just been so frustrating not being able to run.
"The lads have done really well this season. We aren't in the relegation zone. I know there are only a couple of points in it, but if we can get something this Saturday then we'd be right up there again."