New boy Lewis Buxton is closing in on his first Rotherham United appearance.
The former Sheffield Wednesday ace - the third of the Millers’ 11 summer signings so far - has been laid low by a calf problem he picked up early in pre-season.
But boss Steve Evans believes the right-back will be ready for match action some time this week.
Tonight’s friendly at home to Premier League Leicester City may come too soon for the 31-year-old but the injury is now behind him.
“He’s about there,” Evans revealed. “His ability speaks for itself, and he is incredibly fit - that’s in his words.
“He told me in conversation last week: ‘As a footballer, I have never been fitter than I am now.’”
Buxton’s conditioning is testimony to the rigorous training regime the players have been put through by Evans and his coaching staff since they returned from their summer break on June 30.
He could possibly have played already, but Evans has refused to rush back the defender who was surprisingly released by the Owls at the end of last season.
“We’ve given Lewis enough time to recover properly,” he said. “At some clubs he might have been brought back too soon, but we don’t do things like that here. We make sure our players are ready.”
Meanwhile, assistant manager Paul Raynor believes the Millers are ready to build on their survival achievement in their first year back in the Championship last term.
Evans has talked of the club being “midtable looking up” next season, and Raynor said: “We want to improve,
“We’re not going to sit here and say: ‘We’re going to the Premier League; we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that’ That would be absolutely stupid.
“What we’re trying to build here is a solid Championship football club with the potential to move forward. You’ve seen the chairman talking about expanding the stadium.
“The longer we can stay in the division, the better the club will be, the stronger the club will be.
“There will be more supporters, better infrastructure, better players recruited. It’s an exciting period for the club. We’ve gone up to the Championship, had a little look at it, and now we want to grow.”
Tonight’s match kicks off at 7.45pm at AESSEAL New York Stadium, while the Millers will wrap up their pre-season campaign on Saturday at home to German Bundesliga outfit FSV Mainz 05.