Aberdeen centre-back Mikey Devlin hopes to return to action from injury by the end of this month.
Devlin is closing in on a return after almost two months out with a foot tendon injury.
The 25-year-old returned to training during the Dons’ warm weather training camp in Dubai.
However, he sat out the 2-0 friendly win over United Arab Emirates second tier side FC Dibba Al-Hisn on Sunday.
Devlin is set to miss Saturday’s Scottish Cup tie with Stenhousemuir but is confident of being available soon after.
He said: “After Stenhousemuir I am looking to be in the frame in terms of full fitness and declare myself for selection.
“If I can get to that point by the end of the month I will be happy.
“It was a successful few days with a reintroduction to running and trying to get things moving in the right direction.
“Everything has been positive so far and there have been no hiccups.
“If it continues in that vein hopefully in the next week or so I will be full training and ready to go from then.
“Hopefully I will be available for selection soon, but it also comes at a time when there have been other players returning to fitness.
“It has been a welcome return for Mark Reynolds and Tommie Hoban.
“We have real strength in depth and competition for places.”
The centre-back sustained the injury in mid-November while training with the Scotland international squad ahead of the Uefa Nations League tie with Albania.
Devlin had been in contention to win a debut senior international cap in that match.
While the defender was injured, the Dons racked up six wins from eight games in December, to move from the bottom six to within three points of the top of the Premiership.
Devlin said: “It has been very frustrating as over the course of the season everyone has been talking about how close the title race is going to be.
“For the most part we had been looking up at that, but we as a club feel we should be up there competing as well.
“We are now three points off the top of the table.
“We are happier with where we are now but not content.
“Now we want to keep pushing for (another) three points and also get the club back to Hampden where we also feel we should be playing in cup competitions.”
The training camp in Dubai also marked the return to training from long-term injury of on-loan Watford defender Hoban.
The centre-back had been out since undergoing shoulder surgery in late August.
Mark Reynolds also featured for the first time against FC Dibba Al-Hisn since undergoing knee surgery in July.
The friendly in Dubai similarly marked the return of winger Gary Mackay-Steven, who had been out with concussion since being knocked unconscious in the Betfred Cup final on December 2.
Devlin said: “The Scottish Cup game will be tough but we’re glad we are at home.
“Then we have Hamilton away.It never stops in the Premiership – it’s always the same, every game you need to go and earn the right to win the three points.
“It’s an exciting time for everyone.”