Manchester City have revealed Joleon Lescott and Wayne Bridge are closing in on returns from their knee injury woes.
The defensive duo have been on the sidelines since December with Bridge out with ligament damage sustained against old club Chelsea, while Lescott has had an operation on a problem he suffered at Bolton.
City's defence has managed to cope without the pair with Sylvinho and Javier Garrido covering at left-back, while Micah Richards and Vincent Kompany have formed a centre-back partnership with Lescott on the treatment table and Kolo Toure's Ivory Coast commitments in the African Cup of Nations.
Lescott and Bridge have yet to get the chance to impress new boss Roberto Mancini but the Italian manager is keen to get the England internationals back fit and available for an important month which sees them take on Chelsea and Liverpool.
Mancini expects £12million signing Bridge could be available in 10 days' time, while £22 million signing Lescott is around three weeks away from fitness.
The City boss insists the pair are on the road to recovery but has his reservations about rushing them back with an eye on the run-in at the latter part of the season.
"I'll wait for them, because they are important players for us," the former Inter tactician said on City's official website.
"I hope that Bridge can come back in 10 days - with Joleon, I hope around another 10 days on top of that. They are making good progress but are not ready to train."
The news will come as a double boost to England boss Fabio Capello who will be hoping they suffer no setbacks in their rehabilitation to be fit in time for the Three Lions' friendly with Egypt on 3rd March.