Bristol Rovers boss John Ward is hoping to have senior professionals Jim Paterson and Danny Woodards in contention for selection within a month.
Paterson has been sidelined since the summer after breaking his leg in a pre-season friendly at Hereford United, while Woodards has been out of action since suffering a serious knee injury at Bradford City in April.
Both players, however, have returned to non-contact training and Ward confirmed: “We’re now getting them back into football work, which is great for their morale as well and their wellbeing.
“It is non-contact stuff for now, but in another 3-4 weeks those two will not be far away from being considered for some football games. They’re both good trainers, really good professional boys and are pushing each other along.”
Ward, however, does not anticipate seeing tendonitis victim Mark McChrystal in a first-team shirt until the early part of the new year. The defender last featured on October 5 and is currently spending time at the rehabilitation centre at St George’s Park in Burton.
The manager is hopeful that winger Alefe Santos will recover from a hamstring problem, which has kept him out for the last fortnight, in time to feature in the FA Cup second round clash against Crawley Town on Saturday, but striker Ryan Brunt is still unlikely to be available.
Brunt, who has struggled with niggling knee problems since the start of the season, was told there was no major issue by a specialist last week, but was scheduled to receive a second opinion yesterday.