Tyrone boss Mickey Harte is nearing touchline return
Mickey Harte could, after all, be at the helm of operations when Tyrone meet Donegal in their Ulster Championship preliminary round tie at MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey next month.
It is understood that Harte attended a squad training session on Tuesday night in his first involvement with the Red Hands since he underwent a minor surgical procedure recently.
While Harte addressed the Tyrone squad at Kelly's Inn, Garvaghey prior to their last Allianz League Division One match against Kerry when a draw proved insufficient to keep them in Division One, he did not have any touchline role in that game.
But it now seems that Harte is in the throes of making a phased return to his managerial duties.
Team coach Gavin Devlin and strength and conditioning coach Peter Donnelly, along with former assistant manager Tony Donnelly, have assumed responsibility for team affairs in Harte's absence.
His return to active duty will be welcomed within the O'Neill County, particularly in view of the enormous challenge they face against a Donegal side that is likely to be at full strength and with home advantage.
Under-21 boss Fergal Logan, whose side will meet Tipperary in the All-Ireland final on Saturday week, hinted in the wake of his team's semi-final win over Roscommon last Saturday that Harte could have some part to play in the build-up to the game.
It now seems the triple All-Ireland winning manager's inspirational rhetoric will be availed of by Logan and his assistants Peter Canavan and Brian Dooher.
But with preparations for the Donegal clash being stepped up - they will be playing their first match in the competition under Rory Gallagher - the spotlight will focus even more strongly on this mouth-watering tie should Harte be back in harness.