Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes a December return for midfielder Tomas Rosicky is a realistic aim.
Rosicky is sidelined with a troublesome hamstring injury that has plagued the Czech international since January.
The former Borussia Dortmund playmaker has started just 37 Premier League games since he joined the Gunners in 2006, following a number of niggling injury setbacks.
Wenger admits it is 'very difficult' to precisely predict when Rosicky will be fit for first-team action, but is hopeful he could return before Christmas.
"I monitor Rosicky's progress very closely, but at the moment it is very difficult to put a date on his comeback," Wenger said on the club's official website.
"We are not pessimistic about the future of his career, but we still need more patience.
"If he comes back before Christmas we have done very well - but I think we can achieve that, so in December he can play again."
Wenger also added that striker Eduardo, who is recovering from a broken leg, is on target to return ahead of schedule, while midfielder Abou Diaby should make his comeback from a thigh problem after the forthcoming international break.