Derby defender Jake Buxton is poised to resume training following a knee injury.
Buxton, who has been out since suffering ligament damage during the home league win over Leeds at the start of December, has been pencilled in to do some light training with the Rams' first-team squad on Friday.
The centre-half stepped up his return earlier this week by taking part in a series of running drills and ball work with the fitness coach.
Derby boss Nigel Clough said: "Jake isn't far off at all now and we're hoping that he might even join in a light session on Friday.
"We're hoping that Jake can then get a full week of training next week, and take it from there.
"There's an Under-21 game scheduled for the week after next, so we'll get him involved in that and, potentially, have him available from that point."
Buxton made 13 starts alongside Richard Keogh at the heart of the defence before he was injured.
Clough added: "Jake's form in the first half of the season was his best spell since joining the club and he looked a competent Championship centre-back.
"In his absence Mark O'Brien and James O'Connor have stepped into the fold and as well as they've done, we've missed Jake's experience and know-how."