Everton defender Phil Jagielka hopes to return to training after injury in the next few weeks.
The England centre-back has not played since sustaining a horrific knee ligament injury at the end of last season.
Jagielka recently admitted that he was not thinking of attempting to return to full form and fitness in time for the World Cup and that his focus was on club football.
That aim has now moved a step closer as the 27-year-old hopes to be back training with Everton early in 2010.
He said: "It's going well, still quite slow but that's part and parcel of it at the moment.
"I've just got to wait, and hopefully a few weeks into the New Year I'll be able to start training and see where it goes from there."
Meanwhile, Jagielka believes the loan signing of USA forward Landon Donovan ahead of January will prove an astute piece of business as Everton wrestle with a lengthy injury list.
"I've been watching the US team and seen how well they have done recently and he's been an integral part of that," he told evertonTV.
"He's a good player and hopefully he'll add some quality to the team.
"We've not got that many players at the moment, so he's another body with some quality in there.
"There's a few of us who have been out for a while now, and hopefully if we can all get back it will be like having some new players and we can kick on in the league."