Derby striker Chris Porter wants to return to the Rams first team by the end of the year.
The 25-year-old has been undergoing a period of rehabilitation after suffering a hip injury in March, and after eight months on the sidelines, he has targeted mid-December as a comeback date.
Porter was Nigel Clough's first signing at Pride Park on his arrival last season, and the forward has now started to speed up his recovery in training.
"I'm close now," he told the club's official website. "The aim is to be available in the next three weeks.
"I would say the next three weeks are quite crucial and as long as I don't have any set-backs I would hope to be available during mid-December.
"I'll be made up if I'm back by then, I've tried to keep quite fit but I know it will take me a few games to get into the swing of things.
"Four months (since the operation) will be December 10 and if I can come back around the Christmas period it will be an early Christmas present if you like, and given the amount of games taking place it will be a perfect time to get games under my belt."
Derby reserves take on Sheffield Wednesday next week, and although Porter has not ruled himself out of playing, he thinks that game might come just too soon.
"I would love to be involved but we'll see how the next week goes," he added.
"It may be too soon for me, and if it is I will have to wait for the next one because after so long out I don't want to rush back and put myself out for even longer."