Aston Villa midfielder Fabian Delph could return to first-team action in January, according to assistant manager Gary McAllister.
The 20-year-old has been sidelined since sustaining cruciate ligament damage in April, but he has flown to the United States to undergo a specialist training plan to aid the final steps in his recovery.
And McAllister said: “Fabian is doing fantastically well.
“He’s gone over to the United States to break his rehab up and he’s done some training with a specialist over there just to break up the routine.
“It’s been a long time out for Fabian and he’s having five or six days over there and then he will be back. Fingers crossed, he’ll be here in January.
Delph has struggled for form since making the £6m move from Leeds in 2008 but McAllister, who managed the youngster at Elland Road, is confident the midfielder will make an impact when he returns.
He added: “He is a talented boy, no doubt about that, an honest player someone I admire.
“He loves to play and he loves training. He’s a bit frustrated at the moment but he is getting closer.
“This (time out) has been a good chance for him to reflect and have a good look at the Premier League.”