Mansfield Town winger Alex MacDonald will not be fit in time for the Forest Green Rovers game tomorrow but may be ready to rejoin the squad a week later at Accrington.
MacDonald is recovering from a minor knee operation and boss Steve Evans said: “He is on his way, but not for Saturday.
“We will give Alex a proper full week’s training programme next week and, if he comes through that, the kid was bending in all sorts of free kicks and corners the other day when I watched him, so he’s very close now.
“We have missed Alex. He gives you great quality and I can’t give him any bigger compliments about the condition he’s come back in.
“He has to stay in that condition if he wants to get in this team.
“When he sees the competition from the likes of Atkinson, Potter, Hamilton and Anderson, they are very fit boys and he has to be as fit as them.”
Evans said there was no danger of bringing him back too quickly.
“He won’t come back too early under me,” he said. “That’s because I listen to the medical staff.
“Gone are the days as a manager when you can think you’re the best physio.
“You have to listen to your staff. They will be telling me by the middle of next week whether Alex can play a part at Accrington. If he can it’s a real option for us as he has such fantastic qualities.
“Supporters love him already. They loved him last season at the back end when he was one of the catalysts for getting to the last day to be in the play-offs.”