Dave Jones is weighing up whether to give Carl Magnay a League Two return today.
The Hartlepool United boss says the 28-year-old has “half a shout” for a place in the match-day squad against Portsmouth at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.
Magnay has made a rapid recovery from surgery to repair ruptured knee ligaments sustained in the goalless draw with Mansfield Town in mid-September.
It was feared the defender would miss the rest of the season, but he is available for selection for the final seven games, starting with the visit of Pompey.
Last week, Jones said Magnay needed games, having played a half in a reserve friendly against Nike Academy and then the full 90 minutes in a Central League defeat to Grimsby.
However, there was a hint that his first-team return might not be that far away when he was not included in the reserve side at Chesterfield on Tuesday.
And Jones said he would consider him, though only after consulting the player himself.
“We kept Mags with us because of the intensity we’ve been working at,” said the manager.
“It’s best that he’s been working with us.
“You can duck and dive in reserve games and not be at full pelt whereas with us [in training] we can intensify things.
“That’s what we decided to do.
“A shout? Not to play probably, but he could go on the bench.
“Mags is well ahead of schedule and we’ll have a talk to see what we do.”
Magnay has made only eight appearances this season, scoring twice in the 3-3 draw at Crewe.
The Gateshead-born defender, a mainstay last season in midfield and defence, has been a major miss this term, especially away from home where Pools have the worst record in the division on the road.