Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker could be back in action within the next fortnight.
Reo-Coker has been able to undertake some running after missing Villa's last four matches with a knee problem. The former England Under-21 captain had been made Villa's temporary skipper by Gerard Houllier in the absence of Stiliyan Petrov, but he has not played since the league clash at Fulham on November 6.
Houllier confirmed: "Nigel has done some running. Maybe in two weeks, he'll be back."
Villa have been particularly hit by injuries in the centre of the park with Steve Sidwell also sidelined in addition to Reo-Coker and Petrov.
It is an area that Houllier will look to bolster in January.
He said: "It's definitely in midfield we need to buy one or two players."
Reo-Coker, who is in the final year of his current contract, was given few opportunities during the last year of Martin O'Neill's reign as manager.
But the £8.5 million signing from West Ham was brought back into the side by Houllier and had played eight successive matches under the Frenchman before his injury blow.