David Moyes is hopeful Sunderland forward Fabio Borini will be back from injury sometime in December.
The 25-year-old has been out since the end of August with a thigh injury picked up the 1-1 draw with Southampton at St Mary's Stadium.
Moyes has revealed the Italian is making steady progress on his return to full fitness and is working hard at the Academy of Light.
The 53-year-old Scot was reluctant to put an exact timescale on when he will be able to call upon Borini's services but he hopes to have him back involved within the next two to three weeks ahead of the busy festive period.
Borini was replaced midway through the second-half of the draw at Southampton after he kicked the ground causing his adductor muscle to detach from the bone.
Moyes said: "Fabio is doing better.
"He has not joined training but he is doing a bit of running, cycling and keeping himself fit.
"He will need a couple of weeks training to get the football training into him. He is a naturally fit lad anyway.
"I am not seeing him out on the training ground every day, the odd run here and there but not a regular at the moment.
"I think he will be back shortly but I couldn't put an exact timescale on it.
"With a bit of luck he might only be two to three weeks away."