Hopes of having injured David Mirfin back in the Mansfield Town first team by Christmas now look overly optimistic.
But the experienced centre half could be back in training in a couple of weeks, facing his own mini pre-season and a lot of reserve outings before he could be considered for a full return to the fold.
Mirfin has not played since 6th December 2017 when he suffered a knee injury at Blackpool.
“He is doing really well but he’s been a long time out. He has about another two weeks to go before he is back in full-time training with us,” said boss David Flitcroft.
“If we’re doing shape with no contact we involve Dave as it’s important mentally to have him in and around it.
“After that you are then looking at a real pre-season methodology.
“He won’t be able to play on the 3G where our games could be played. So we’ll have to reschedule them and get him his own games programme which we’re working on.
“It will be a real individualised programme he comes back to.
“At every stage we won’t be pushing him too quick. We have to get it right.
“It will really crank up for him over the next four to six weeks, but then you’re looking at getting him six to eight games in before we all believe he is game-ready to come into our environment