Mark Hughes has been handed a welcome boost with the news that three of his players are nearing full fitness.
The Manchester City boss has enjoyed a busy summer in the transfer market, bolstering his squad ahead of a much-touted top four challenge.
One of those brought in was Paraguayan striker Roque Santa Cruz, who completed a big-money switch from Blackburn.
The South American star has been unable to make his competitive bow for the club after undergoing knee surgery, but Hughes has revealed that he is edging his way into contention.
"He is desperate to play but we are holding him back a bit," said the Blues boss.
"When Roque is ready he will be involved. We want to get him in a City shirt and out there playing because he is going to be a big asset to us.
"We are looking long term. If we introduced him too early we could still lose him on a longer basis.
"Roque understands our thinking over this. He is a bit frustrated but we will all benefit from it."
Belgian midfielder Vincent Kompany is another who has been sidelined of late, with a toe problem, but he has completed his rehabilitation and is 'pain-free and raring to go'.
Michael Johnson still remains some way off a first-team return, after almost a year out with an abdominal problem, but Hughes is again optimistic regarding the England U21 international's progress.
"We are positive," Hughes told City's official website.
"He has been out for a year. If we rush him back he could break down so we will get him involved with the reserves to give him a base level of fitness.
"If we get him and the other two up and running in the next month or so it would be like three new signings for us."