Fleetwood boss Graham Alexander could have Keith Southern available for match action within weeks.
The veteran midfielder, who signed in the summer from Huddersfield Town, is understood to have recently undergone surgery on a hernia. He’s been sidelined for several weeks after pulling up during pre-season training.
But Alexander revealed his man, along with several other team-mates, was finally on the road towards full fitness.
“Keith’s back out on the grass,” Alexander told The Gazette.
“He’s been out on the grass this week, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.
“He’s one of a group of players who are coming back into play, to compete with the other lads in the team.
“We’ve missed having them about.
“Hopefully we’ll get them back fit and they’ll compete for a place in the team.”
Town were struggling for numbers ahead of last weekend’s game against Chesterfield - Alexander only able to call on 16 fit first team players.
That situation may improve in time for tomorrow’s visit of Leyton Orient but Alexander isn’t keen to rush back his men.
He said:”You can put someone on the bench and think they are OK for 10 minutes and have to use them after five.
“It’s one of those things you have to consider.
“We don’t want to push people, we don’t want to put them in a position where they break down again.
“We’ll have a better picture at the end of Friday.
“Then we’ll know if we’re better placed than we were last week.”
Stephen Jordan is believed to be close to returning at centre half. Stephen Dobbie is also understood to be close to fitness following his ankle injury.
Mark Roberts and Jeff Hughes have both played football for the club’s development squad in recent weeks but may be further from a return.