Dave Jones has been encouraged to see one of Hartlepool United’s experienced players coming back to fitness.
But the boss insists Pools will be careful not to rush Carl Magnay back too quickly.
The 28-year-old came through a behind-closed-doors friendly on Wednesday for a young Pools side, who defeated Nike Academy 4-2 at Maiden Castle.
Magnay is hoping to return to League Two action before the e nd of the season after making a quicker-than-anticipated recovery from surgery on ruptured knee ligaments.
It was feared he may miss the entire season following the injury sustained in mid-September in the 0-0 home draw with Mansfield.
“He’s played against Nike Academy, so it’s not been full pelt,” said Jones.
“But the good thing is he’s got through 45 minutes.
“Having spoken to Buster, he’s ahead of schedule, but he’s got to be careful.
“He’s had an injury that needs time to heal in the right manner.
“Mags will be given as much time as required.
“The last thing you want to do is to push someone back earlier than is recommended and then he picks up something else.
“Over the last six months he’s not been using muscles he needs to use in football, so he needs time to get back.
“I’ll be guided, completely, by our medical department.”
Pools are minus a number of their most experienced players, notably Trevor Carson (shoulder), Rob Jones (knee) Matthew Bates (ankle) and Billy Paynter (Achilles) who are all long-term absentees.