Hartlepool United boss Matthew Bates has refused to rule club captain Andrew Davies out of Tuesday's trip to Salford City.
The defender has been absent from the first-team scene since injuring his ankle
A subsequent review of the injury revealed an ankle ligament tear and fears were real that the player, signed on a free transfer in the summer from Ross County, could miss a sizeable chunk of the National League campaign.
But Bates has revealed the trip to the north west next week could see Davies involved.
When asked whether Salford was Davies' return date, Bates said: "Possibly.
"He is back outside. He is out running and kicking a ball about but he has not joined in with the group, as yet.
"As with any injury it is step-by-step and you hope for no setback as you go up the ladder to a full recovery. Fingers crossed there won’t be.
"Saturday is too soon but we will have to wait for Tuesday."
A return for Davies would be a timely boost for Pools, who will have to do without right wing-back Ryan Donaldson for today's trip to Halifax Town.
Both players are expected to be back before original prognosis had suggested, with Donaldson hopeful of selection for Aldershot's trip to the Super 6 Stadium in seven days time.
"We want all our players fit," Bates added.
"When he got injured we were a tad worried.
"But the lads who have stepped in have stepped up. Mags has been fantastic in there.
"He is one we are champing at the bit to get back, so is the player but it is a one where this weekend comes around too soon."
Bates' side suffered a little bump in the road last weekend, as they bid to return to the Football League at the second time of asking.
A home draw against lowly Eastleigh was unexpected and unwanted but it was far from the end of the world, especially with the gap to top-of-the-table Harrogate Town just five points.
Manager Bates knows his side have to remain level-headed, as they were when Pools went winless from their opening four games this season.
"We are confident, they have been all season," said the Pools boss.
"We didn’t get the results we wanted at the start but that did not change the morale within the group.
"As staff and as players it was a case of just keep doing what you are doing and it will come good. We still have the same approach day-by-day, game-by-game.
"It is a long, old season. Things come thick and fast."