Doncaster Rovers expect to have injured duo Gary McSheffrey and Aaron Taylor-Sinclair back by the end of next month.
Neither man has played since last season but both should be available for the final two months of this campaign as Rovers look to complete their task of winning promotion to League One.
Forward McSheffrey and defender Taylor-Sinclair are poised to begin a ‘pre-season’ with fitness coaches at the club ahead of returning to full training at the start of February.
“They’ll be back joining in training, probably the start of February,” boss Darren Ferguson told The Star.
“They’ll do two or three weeks with us, hopefully we’ll get a couple of bounce games in.
“I’m looking to hopefully have those two back for the last week of February, which is quite good.”
McSheffrey saw his loan from Scunthorpe United ended early last season after suffering a knee injury.
He nevertheless signed a permanent deal with Rovers in the summer, only for complications due to a lack of treatment for the injury to force him onto the sidelines again.
The 34-year-old underwent an operation in October and has been carrying out his recovery ever since.
Taylor-Sinclair suffered a cruciate ligament injury in the final game of last season against Burton Albion.
He was expected to miss the majority of this campaign but has made a strong recovery.
In the more immediate future, Liam Mandeville has recovered from a hamstring injury and will be in the squad to face Crewe Alexandra on Saturday.
Ferguson said: “Liam trained Monday and Tuesday very well.
“We look strong as a squad now.
“Mandeville will be on the bench Saturday, if he’s not selected to start.
“It means someone will have to come out of it but we’re looking quite strong there.”