Aberdeen are set to welcome back on-loan Watford defender Tommie Hoban after the Premiership winter break in January.
Hoban has been out since August having undergone shoulder surgery on an injury sustained in the 1-1 draw at Hibs.
Dons boss Derek McInnes has been in regular contact with the 24-year-old and the medical team at Premier League Watford.
Despite Hoban’s long-term absence, McInnes confirmed the versatile defender will return on loan for the second half of the season.
McInnes said: “Tommie has been up with us for a couple of our games including the Betfred Cup final and we had a wee chat with him.
“He also saw our medical staff and we are in constant communication with Tommie and Watford.
“Tommie still has a few weeks of his rehabilitation to go through but all being well he will re-join us when we come back after the winter break.
“He will be back before us, clearly, and will report back a couple of days beforehand, in January.
“Hopefully he can pick up where he left off because he produced some very important performances for us.”
Former Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Hoban arrived on loan just days before Aberdeen’s Europa League campaign began.
He was pitched into the starting line-up for the second qualifying round first leg against Burnley at Pittodrie and impressed in a 1-1 draw.
It was Hoban’s first start in more than a year, having been ruled out with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament suffered in training in summer 2017.
Hoban retained his starting slot for the return at Turf Moor, which the Reds lost 3-1 after extra-time.
He suffered a knee injury late in that game that ruled him out for three weeks.
On his return to action Hoban netted the opener against Hibs at Easter Road.
However, his injury nightmare struck again as the defender, while bundling the ball over the line, sustained a shoulder injury that later required surgery.
McInnes insists that Hoban’s return to Pittodrie next month will be a major boost because the player is so versatile.
McInnes said: “Tommie is the type of player that a manager loves having in his squad.
“I loved having him available when he was fit.
“Tommie is so flexible as he can play anywhere in the back four or in a back five.
“He can play in front of a back four equally as well.”
Aberdeen have been plagued by injuries to defenders this season with Hoban’s five-month absence one of a number of injury blows at the back.
Centre-back Mark Reynolds has been ruled out following surgery on a knee injury sustained in a pre-season friendly against Cove.
Scotland international centre-back Scott McKenna was sidelined for six weeks with a hamstring tear suffered in the opening game of the Premiership season.
Fellow centre-back Mikey Devlin has missed the last four games, including the 1-0 Betfred Cup final loss to Celtic, with a foot tendon injury.
Devlin suffered the injury while training with the Scotland squad and was in contention to earn a first senior cap.
The 25-year-old is also rated doubtful for tomorrow’s Premiership trip to St Mirren.
Scotland international winger Gary Mackay-Steven has missed the last two games with concussion, having been knocked unconscious in an accidental clash of heads in the cup final. Mackay-Steven will be assessed by the Reds medical staff to see if he can make tomorrow’s game.