Oxford United manager Chris Wilder says he is delighted to see Michael Duberry return to training following his career-threatening neck injury.
Duberry, 36, played 37 times for the U's last season but had neck surgery in August in a bid to save his career.
So far the surgery seems to have worked and Wilder admits to being relieved at seeing the veteran defender return.
"There was obviously a big question mark regarding his future and his career," Wilder told BBC Radio Oxford.
Speaking in August the former Chelsea defender on his left hand as well as all the strength in his left tricep and bicep.
"I've got no strength at the moment, I couldn't even do a press up because my left arm is so weak," he said at the time.
"I've got discomfort in my shoulder, I've got nothing in me."
But Duberry has beaten the odds to return to football and looks set for a first-team recall before the end of the year.
"It was good news this week with Michael being given the go-ahead to go and head a few balls," added Wilder.
"He'll probably head a few thousand over the weekend and he's been a big miss so to have him back and available will be really good.
"He had to look after himself and it has been a blow not having him. But it'll be like having a new signing in the new year."