Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva is set to ramp up his comeback from injury this week.
The 25-year-old, who has not played since sustaining a thigh problem against Manchester City on August 26, is being considered for the reserve game against Middlesbrough on Friday.
Assistant manager Colin Pascoe said staff will assess the Brazil international in the coming days before making a decision on his return.
“The next step is getting his strength up in training and hopefully he can get 45 minutes in the reserve game on Friday,” Pascoe told the club’s official website.
“But we’ll assess him, see how he is in the next couple of days, and if he feels fine himself, then he could possibly have 45 minutes on Friday.”
The former Gremio player returned to training last week, much to the delight of assistant Pascoe and the rest of the club.
“It’s fantastic to see Lucas back in training. He’s a good player and it’s nice to get him back,” he added.
“He’s been unfortunate with a lot of injuries. I know that’s part and parcel of football but it can get you down and it’s nice to see Lucas with a smile on his face.
“He’s a great professional. He’s done his recovery and rehab.
“When you’re injured, you can’t wait to go and play football again and sometimes you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, but Lucas has kept his head down, worked hard and he’s looking good in training.”