Jack Ashton is closing in on a return from a long-term knee injury.
It’s been almost a year since the AFC Rushden & Diamonds defender suffered the injury during a 1-1 draw at Rugby Town last season.
But, after an operation and a long spell of rehabilitation, the popular centre-half is nearly ready to return.
Boss Andy Peaks said: “Jack will be going to see the specialist late this week or early next week.
“And the purpose of that visit will be to try to get the all clear to really step things up.
“He has been doing bits and pieces with us and we have had to rein him in a bit.
“But the hope now is that everything will be good and he will be able to push on.”
Ashton has been taking part in light training in recent weeks and Peaks knows the defender will be keen to play as soon as he gets the clearance from the specialist.
Diamonds have an NFA Hillier Senior Cup quarter-final with Wellingborough Town next Tuesday while they host Kettering Town a week later in the BigFreeBet.com Challenge Cup.
Those two fixtures may well be the most appropriate for Ashton to return.
But when asked about the potential time scale, Peaks added: “Anyone who knows Jack will know what he is like.
“We have had to look after him and it was always the case that we didn’t want him to come back too early.
“As soon as he gets that all-clear, he will want to play.
“That’s what he is like, he is chomping at the bit and then some.
“So I am not going to rule anything in or out about when he will make his return.”