Aberdeen’s Ash Taylor is closing in on a comeback from injury.
The defender, pictured, returned for a second spell with the Dons in the summer, but has made just two competitive appearances so far this season.
The 29-year-old suffered a hamstring injury in the Europa League second qualifying round first leg 1-1 draw with Georgian side Chikhura Sachkhere on July 25.
Taylor, who played for the Reds from 2014 until 2017 before departing for Northampton Town, has suffered setbacks in his recovery. But the Wales Under-21 international is close to making his comeback.
It’s a welcome boost for boss Derek McInnes, who still has Funso Ojo on the sidelines.
The Belgian midfielder is set to be out until January with a hamstring problem, while Scott Wright will miss the rest of the season following surgery on his cruciate ligament.
However, Craig Bryson and Stephen Gleeson have stepped up their recovery from injury.
Gleeson made his first appearance of the season as a late sub in Saturday’s 3-0 win against Motherwell at Fir Park.
Bryson has returned to training after an ankle problem and could return to the fray when Celtic visit Pittodrie on Sunday.
That clash is likely to come too soon for Taylor, but McInnes said: “Ash Taylor is the only one that’s out and he should be back in a couple of weeks.
“So hopefully we’re starting to come through the injuries with one or two back.
“I have got competition. Earlier on in the season we were without loads of defenders. But we’ve got them back.
“Big Ash will be back in two weeks as well. So we have plenty of options there. That’s as it should be at a club like Aberdeen – we should have good options in all areas of the pitch.”
Taylor being close to returning, combined with Scott McKenna, Mikey Devlin, Andy Considine, Greg Leigh, Zak Vyner and Shay Logan all being available, gives McInnes plenty of competition for defensive spots.
It makes a change from earlier this season when at times the Pittodrie gaffer had only four fit defenders available.
McKenna, Devlin and Logan all missed matches because of injury, while Considine dropped out of last month’s 5-0 loss to Rangers at Ibrox because of illness.
McInnes is pleased to have competition at the back and believes players pushing each other for selection can drive up standards and performance levels.
He added: “I think you want it to push up standards.
“Sometimes players can go back into the team because they’ve got to go back in as a result of certain injuries.
“But ideally you have a fully fit squad to choose from and you’d be able to have that competition.”