Shaun Barker could be ready to make his long-awaited comeback for Derby in their next Championship outing against Hull City.
The Rams skipper has been sidelined since undergoing knee surgery in April.
He is, however, closing on a return to full fitness and is one of four senior stars ready to step off the treatment table and back into Nigel Clough's plans.
Paul Green, John Brayford and Lee Croft are also edging their way towards a recall, with the Rams hoping that a run-out for the club's second string will help the quartet to put themselves in contention for a date with Hull on 19th November.
Clough told the club's official website: "We are looking towards Shaun Barker doing more training both this week and next week.
"The next step is playing in the reserve game at Sheffield United on 16th November.
"It is then a case of them building up their match sharpness, especially for Barker and Green who have been out for some time."