Aberdeen striker Curtis Main is set to return to pre-season training this week following knee surgery.
Manager Derek McInnes confirmed Main has made rapid progress in his rehabilitation since going under the knife last month.
The knee problem had troubled the 28-year-old during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Main’s imminent return to training is a major boost as Aberdeen prepare for the Premiership opener against Rangers on August 1.
Main had forced his way into the starting-line up ahead of leading scorer Sam Cosgrove in the six games before football was shutdown on March 13 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Aberdeen stepped up their pre-season preparations with a 2-2 draw with Ross County on Saturday in a behind-closed-door friendly at Cormack Park.
It was Aberdeen’s first game time in 120 days with Bruce Anderson netting a double.
McInnes said: “Curtis is Recovering well and could be back training as early as the end of this week.
“He is making real progress since his operation.”
A summer signing last year, former Motherwell striker Main initially struggled to secure a regular starting slot ahead of Cosgrove, who had netted 20 goals before January.
However, the goals subsequently dried up for Cosgrove and Aberdeen suffered a run of five league games without scoring over January and February.
In a bid to prevent an unwanted new club record of six consecutive league games without a goal, McInnes dropped Cosgrove and handed Main his first start in almost two months in an away clash at Hamilton in February.
Main responded by netting the opener in a 3-1 win and retained that starting slot until football was shutdown due to the pandemic.
McInnes said: “Curtis will be a bit behind the rest of the lads.
“But we will try to quickly get him up to speed.”
The imminent return of Main comes as Aberdeen recently accepted a bid in excess of £2 million from French second tier club Guingamp for Cosgrove, who is contracted until summer 2022.
However, Cosgrove rejected the move to France as he was only given 24 hours to make up his mind before the French transfer deadline closed last Wednesday.
Striker Cosgrove also felt there was unfinished business at Pittodrie.
Cosgrove was also the subject of an approach from American MLS side New York Red Bulls in the January transfer window.
There could yet be further bids this summer window as Cosgrove’s scoring form has alerted English clubs, with Championship outfits Stoke City and Middlesbrough having had the striker watched.
Aberdeen are facing £10m losses due to the Covid-19 crisis and McInnes will not add to his squad while that situation continues.
Winger Jonny Hayes has been the only signing this summer and that deal was only possible because the winger offered to defer wages for a year.
He said: “We won’t be adding to the squad while the situation remains as it is.
“We can’t be asking staff, and players and others within the club to look at certain measures, then still continue to be flying in the face of that by signing player after player, which we won’t be doing.”
Aberdeen have less than three weeks before the season kicks off against Rangers and McInnes is confident they will be ready.
In the first pre-season friendly at the weekend, the Reds raced into a two-goal lead against Ross County courtesy of a brace from emerging striker Anderson.
However, the Staggies hit back through Regan Charles-Cook and Billy Mckay.
McInnes said: “We will use the time that we have been given to get the players ready.
“There will have been seven weeks or so of pre-season, so we will utilise that well.
“It is important that we are ready for that opening game against Rangers.”