Stoke City boss Tony Pulis is hopeful that striker Mamady Sidbie will make a return to action much sooner than expected after undergoing surgery on an Achilles injury.
The Potters had feared that the 30-year-old Mali international could be sidelined for up to a year, but Pulis now has hopes that Sidibe will be back in contention before the end of the calendar year.
He told the club's official website: "It looks as though he could be back around Christmas time and that is pretty positive considering what we were hearing after the (Spurs) game.
"It is still a massive blow for the kid because he has not long recovered from a cruciate knee injury and this has really taken him back again, so we are all feeling for him.
"But he is a great lad and we will all give him a cuddle and stick by him.
"He is strong and will come through this, but it is a major disappointment for us because he is an important player for us."