Virgil van Dijk could make his first appearance for Southampton this season at Crystal Palace on Saturday, says manager Mauricio Pellegrino.
He has not played first-team football since sustaining an ankle injury in January but featured in the Under-23s' 4-0 defeat by Aston Villa on Monday.
"Hopefully he will be getting better every single week," said Pellegrino.
"But I am happy with that - not just about Virgil because everybody, I think, is ready to be part of the team."
Midfielder Steven Davis, who has taken over from Van Dijk as captain so far this season, said last month the Dutchman would be welcomed back by the rest of the squad.