Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp says winger Aaron Lennon is making encouraging progress in his bid to shake off a groin injury before the end of the season.
Lennon has been sidelined with a groin problem since December, although Spurs chief Redknapp has previously said the 22-year-old could make a return to first-team action prior to the end of the season.
And the omens appear to be good for the midfielder, according to Redknapp, who said that the player had enjoyed the 'best day' of his rehabilitation during training this week.
The news will come as a boost to Lennon's World Cup hopes, with the former Leeds man looking to get games under his belt in a bid to earn a place in Fabio Capello's 23-man England squad for the summer showpiece.
Improving day by day
"Thursday was probably the best day Aaron has had," said Redknapp prior to Saturday's visit to Sunderland.
"He worked hard with the fitness coaches and he is getting there. He is improving day by day and he is not too far away.
"Gary Lewin, the England physio, came down to have a chat with him. They wanted to monitor his progress and see how he is. And he's improving.
"I wouldn't want to be putting a time on when he will be available but he's improving."
Tottenham defender Alan Hutton, who is on loan at the Black Cats until the end of season, is believed to be courting interest from North East rivals Newcastle.
The Magpies are on the verge of securing promotion back to the Premier League from the Championship, and the Scotland defender is said to be a transfer target of manager Chris Hughton.
Hutton is unavailable to play at the weekend against his parent employers due to the terms on his January move and Redknapp was coy on the 25-year-old's future, saying he had not heard anything from the St James' Park outfit.
He added: "Newcastle are very, very interested I hear this week. But they have not contacted us."
Meanwhile, Redknapp has also been boosted by Carlo Cudicini's return to training.
The goalkeeper sustained serious wrist and pelvis injuries in a motorbike accident last November that put his career in jeopardy.
But an emergency operation following the incident helped the Italian recover and he will now begin his recuperation, although the 36-year-old will not feature again this season.