Middlesbrough assistant boss Malcolm Crosby believes Mido could be back in contention in a month's time.
The Egypt international striker has not figured significantly for Boro since October because of a groin injury, although he has featured in action for their reserves.
The former Spurs man has been unable to achieve full fitness as hoped, but Crosby believes the striker is now closing in on a first-team return.
"Mido is working very hard in training and I have seen a big improvement in him over the last couple of weeks," Crosby told the Evening Gazette.
"If he continues to work at this rate then it might be another few weeks.
"He is going to be in decent shape at the end of it and hopefully he will be pushing for his place in no more than a month or so.
"We need all our players fit. We need competition for places."