Everton manager David Moyes has revealed that James McFadden is closing in on his first start for over 15 months.
The Scottish forward, who re-signed for The Toffees in the summer, has played just 12 minutes of first team action this season.
He has been out with a hamstring injury suffered shortly after returning to Goodison Park but is slowly regaining full fitness.
The 28-year-old played the last three minutes of the draw against Sunderland on Boxing Day and is set to have more game-time in the upcoming clashes against West Brom and Bolton.
Moyes believes he is starting to rediscover his form, but admits McFadden has developed as a player since picking up his injury.
Moyes told the Liverpool Echo: "It has been a bit hard to gauge his form, because until we see him in a full game we won't really know. His style has changed, I think, from when he was last here.
"He is more mature in his play, more thoughtful, there is a little less of the 'Roy of the Rovers' about him now. He keeps the ball better and is more concise in his passing and general play.
"Faddy came back and we got him a couple of half reserve games and bits and pieces, but then he did his hamstring. He is back now, he has been back about a week and a half.
"I reintroduced him on the bench against Swansea, but I'm not quite sure where he is in terms of his overall fitness. Because of his knee, we are not being allowed to really train him all the time.
"But he is now getting towards an overall level where he is looking to get a start, or at least getting nearer to the team."
Everton have struggled for goals this season, having failed to score more than one goal in a game since the end of November.
Three players have three goals each as the joint-leading scorers, while Louis Saha has scored only once in the Premier League this season.
Moyes admits McFadden's return needs to be supplemented by a new player joining the squad: "I still see him playing off the front, as a front man, or perhaps wide if we need him to.
"We would probably need more of an out and out striker (in January). We brought Faddy to help us in terms of numbers.
"He needed the work and the games so we are helping each other out, and now we will see. But there are signs that he is starting to look a bit more like himself."