Port Vale assistant manager Mark Grew is eager to see defender Lee Collins return to first-team action in Vale's FA Cup tie against Grimsby on Saturday.
The 23-year-old needed an operation to cure a groin problem and has not played a competitive game since 30 August.
"He's 90% fit now," Grew told BBC Radio Stoke. "It's a big game for him to come back into but we need players like Lee Collins in the side."
Vale have conceded 18 goals in the 12 matches that Collins has been absent.
He played 48 times for Vale last season and started the first seven matches of this season before undergoing surgery on his injured groin.
Collins could play some part in a reserve game at Burton on Wednesday, although Grew says that may not be necessary because of the progress that Collins has made since returning to full training.
"We had a practice game on Monday and he came through that with flying colours," added the Vale assistant.
"But if there's any reaction and we think he needs 45 minutes at Burton, we'll have to play him."
Port Vale reached the third round of the FA Cup last season before losing 4-2 at Championship side Burnley.