Centre half David Mirfin could be back with the Mansfield Town squad by Christmas.
That is the hope of manager David Flitcroft as the 33-year-old battles back from an operation on a knee injury sustained in the Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Blackpool at the beginning of December.
“Mirf came out with us to Portugal and got his training up from where it was,” said Flitcroft.
“He’s done a lot of work through the summer, but the severity of the injury and where the injury is at, we probably won’t have Mirf until about Christmas time. That’s a realistic target for him.
“But he is committed to everything. He was doing four or five sessions every day out there in Portugal, so it was really worthwhile getting him out there.”