Motherwell defender Steven Saunders has started running again following a knee operation and is aiming to step up his recovery early next month.
Saunders underwent surgery in August after being troubled by injury in pre-season.
"I'm progressing very well, I have started running again," said Saunders, who was at Hampden on Monday to launch the Scottish Premier League's first charity weekend in conjunction with commercial partners Weatherseal.
"Obviously it's just jogging just now but I go and see the surgeon again in a couple of weeks and hopefully I get the all-clear to up the running and the rehab, but everything is going really well so far.
"I was told Christmas by the surgeon and the physio said that's a realistic target, but I don't really set targets because you can get disheartened if you don't hit it on what you expect. But Christmas seems like a good time for me to come back."
The injury followed a season ruined by a ruptured Achilles tendon, which he suffered while playing for Scotland Under-21s 14 months ago. Saunders only made one injury-time substitute appearance before last season ended and his comeback was cut short by a separate problem.
He has missed Motherwell's third-placed finish in the SPL and subsequent Champions League and Europa League adventures, and admitted he has had to be mentally strong to cope.
"You go in every day and see the boys and they have a bit of a laugh with you as well. You need that," he said.
"You need a good bit of mental strength as well, you need people around you. The club have been brilliant with me as well, they have made sure everything has gone well and if I ever need to do anything outside the club, they have helped me.
"Obviously the mental strength part of it was the toughest but I have come back and think I have done all right, so I am getting there. It's been hard because the team have done very well in the last couple of years and not to be a part of it is very disappointing."
- Sports & Recreation
- Steven Saunders
- Scottish Premier League