West Ham midfielder Dimitri Payet could make his first-team return against Liverpool on 2 January, according to manager Slaven Bilic.
The summer signing, 28, impressed with his early displays and scored five goals before sustaining an ankle injury in November which was expected to keep him out until February.
"He's ahead of schedule," Bilic said.
"Payet is training with the fitness coaches and he might be involved in the Liverpool game, which is a big boost."
Bilic added: "His ankle is very good - it is stable - so it is great news if it goes like this."
France international Payet signed for £10.7m from Marseille in June.