Newcastle United manager Joe Kinnear is relishing the return of Alan Smith as the striker recovers from an ankle injury.
The 28-year-old has made good progress after picking up the injury during United's pre-season campaign.
Kinnear hopes to see Smith back in his first-team plans in time for their New Year fixtures against West Ham and Blackburn.
"Alan's around the place but he's on crutches at the moment," Kinnear told the club's official website.
"It's been in plaster and he had a surgical boot on it but he is walking on it so he's making progress.
"He'd be a big one to come back but he's at least four to six weeks away from returning to training and he's under no pressure to rush back or anything.
"Having him back will be a big bonus for the squad. He's versatile and he's an experienced player who has been there, seen it and done it at the highest level. He'd be a big addition."
Smith's return would be a welcome boost for Kinnear who will remain at the Magpies helm until the end of the season.
Kinnear was without Michael Owen for part of this season and is still waiting on the fitness of striker Mark Viduka who has returned to training after a lengthy Achilles injury.
"When I walked in the place I said there was enough talent in the physio's room to get into the top half of the Premier League," Kinnear added.
"It's been a real boost for us to get the likes of Michael Owen and - fingers crossed - Mark Viduka back in and around the team."