Michael Turner is nearing a Sheffield Wednesday comeback following a lengthy injury lay-off.
The commanding centre-back, on a season long-loan deal from Norwich City, has not featured since October 17 due to a knee problem.
But Turner, who has missed Wednesday’s last 10 fixtures, could resume first-team training later this week and may be included in their match-day squad for Saturday’s eagerly-anticipated trip to Cardiff City.
Wednesday have missed Turner’s experience, strength in the air and solid positioning.
His return boosts Wednesday boss Carlos Carvalhal’s defensive options going into the hectic festive period.
With Tom Lees and Vincent Sasso sidelined due to injury and Claude Dielna and Darryl Lachman frozen out, Carvalhal elected to play Sam Hutchinson as a centre-half in Sunday’s draw at home to Derby County.
Hutchinson, who began his career as a defender, produced an accomplished performance, helping the Owls record their first shut-out in five matches.
There is a strong chance Carvalhal will choose to stick with Hutchinson and resist the temptation to rush Turner immediately back into his starting line-up.
Meanwhile, seven-goal top-scorer Lucas Joao has been named the PFA Fans’ Players of the Month for the Championship in November. The Portuguese international claimed three goals in four matches to beat off strong competition from Derby’s Andreas Weimann and Leeds’ Alex Mowatt.
It is the third successive month Wednesday have scooped the prize. Ross Wallace and Fernando Forestieri won the September and October awards respectively.