Julio Arca is hopeful he will return to first-team duties for Middlesbrough this weekend.
The Argentine has been missing since September when he damaged knee ligaments during the Tees-Wear derby clash with Sunderland.
Now Arca is preparing to feature in the reserve team clash against Bolton on Wednesday with a view to featuring against Reading on Saturday.
"You are always excited when you come back after injury but it is important that I do not rush too quickly," said Arca.
"It would be a mistake for me to try to do things too quickly because it would not be good for me and it would not help the team.
"Obviously I would love to be back in the squad at Reading but it is down to what the manager says, and how my knee reacts.
"But it is good to be so close and I am looking forward to playing."
During his absence Arca has seen Boro slump in form and he is surprised to be returning with them in such a lowly place.
"Obviously when I was injured I never expected that we would be in 17th position at this stage because we were playing really good football," he said.
"But we had a lot of players fit then and we could show what we could do.
"Since then we have had more injuries and all the forwards were missing at one time.
"Mido has been in and out and so has Tuncay and it is difficult when you cannot pick your best players.
"But touch wood it looks like everybody will be fit soon and we already have players like Woody and Pogatetz back.
"We know that we need a win soon and hopefully we will have a chance at Reading.
"I think we will have no problems this season once everybody is fit, but we have to work hard to win games so that we can climb away from this position.
"Hopefully we can win some games and by Christmas be in a comfortable place in the league."