Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has returned to training following a calf injury.
The 29-year-old has played just nine minutes of Premier League football since early November having seen his season heavily disrupted by the problem.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini last month expressed fears that his side could be without their skipper until the "last parts" of the season, but more recently suggested that a return was likely to happen sooner.
Kompany has now stepped up his recovery by returning to training, and Pellegrini is expected to give more information on the situation in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Kompany is highly unlikely to play any part in City's top-of-the-table clash with Leicester City this weekend, but could be in contention when they host fellow title challengers Tottenham Hotspur a week on Sunday.