Martin O'Neill has been encouraged by the progress of injured midfielder Stiliyan Petrov and hopes he will be able to play on with his dislocated shoulder.
The Bulgarian suffered the problem during Aston Villa's pre-season game against Atlante in midweek and immediately flew home to undergo treatment.
The extent of the damage was initially unclear but an operation would have kept Petrov on the sidelines for around four months.
It appears he will not require surgery and O'Neill is cautiously optimistic about his chances of playing a full part at the start of the season.
"The news initially is pleasing although it's still an injury which can cause you an awful lot of problems," explained O'Neill.
"At this moment, we are hopeful it might settle down and he can play with it. We would then monitor it on a game-to-game basis.
"We were concerned that he might have needed an operation, which could have kept him out for four months. That would have been a major blow.
"At this moment, we are reasonably happy with it but we will see how it goes. He isn't out of the woods yet."
Curtis Davies also picked up a minor shoulder complaint in the win over Porto on Friday but O'Neill expects him to be in contention for Sunday's Peace Cup final against Juventus.
He said: "Curtis has had a shoulder problem in the past. It started way back when he was at West Bromwich Albion. Interestingly he knew nothing about it at the time.
"If you remember he had a problem with it last season and it seemed to go away.
"It caused him a problem against Porto, he had to come off but he's feeling a lot better now. He is willing to give it a go.
"If that's the case, and if it's fine with the medical staff, we will do so. If it's too much of a discomfort, then we will leave it."