Peter Thompson now ready to fire again for Linfield
Peter Thompson has handed Linfield manager David Jeffrey a perfectly timed Christmas present by declaring himself ready to return to action.
And if Thompson proves his fitness in a match tonight there is even the possibility that he could be handed a place on the bench for the big Boxing Day derby with Glentoran at the Oval.
The ace marksman, nicknamed 'Pistol Pete', has been missing from the Blues line-up for almost the entire season so far after undergoing a kidney operation.
His recovery from that surgery is ahead of schedule and while the Linfield first-team will face Lisburn Distillery in a Carling Premiership game at Windsor Park tonight, the club's management is hoping that Thompson will be playing for the second string against the Whites at Ballyskeagh.
"We are hoping that Peter will play for the Swifts along with Gary Browne, but we're not yet certain if that game will go ahead," said Jeffrey.
"Peter is a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. I didn't expect to have him training with the rest of the group until the New Year, but that's testament to the hard work he's done himself and the care and attention from our physio Terry Hayes and club doctor Stephen Silcock.
"I think it will be a couple of weeks yet before we have Peter available for the first-team, but it's great that he is coming to the end of process that started some time ago and affected him quite badly.
"He was off the pace in pre-season and understandably so."
While Thompson's return appears to be imminent, Rory Patterson's comeback could be delayed.
He is due to attend hospital on Thursday for a check up on his broken wrist, but it is by no means certain that he will be given the all-clear to return to action.
"I don't know as yet when Rory will be back, but I have been mightily impressed by him and his attitude during the time that he hasn't been able to play," said Jeffrey.
"He has done all he can do to keep himself in shape and anyone who ever doubted his commitment should see the way that he has looked after himself over the last number of weeks."