PACY John Thorrington is expected back in full squad training with Town on Monday.
The 24-year-old American wingman hasn't started a match since August because of knee problems and, when he was near a comeback, he had to undergo surgery.
Now, Thorrington is ready again and he's been given a big incentive by manager Peter Jackson for the second half of the McAlpine season.
"It has been a long, drawn out process for John and it's very disappointing that we've seen little of him since making a bright start to the season," said Jackson ahead of today's clash with leaders Oxford United.
"We thought he was ready in November, which is why he made an appearance from the bench against Hull, but it's been a long slog since then to get to this stage.
"Hopefully this is the end of the problem and John can just concentrate on playing some games between now and May.
"There is half a season for him in which to earn a place in the side and to make a big impact and, having missed so much already, I would expect him to be keen to make up for lost time."
The loss of Thorrington partly prompted Jackson to switch from a 4-4-2 formation to 3-5-2, and the manager accepts he offers the team a valuable dimension.
"John has pace and, at this level, that's something which can be very destructive," he said.
There was further bright news on the injury front today as Jon Worthington - who completes his three-match ban with the visit of Oxford - is responding very well after hernia surgery.
David Mirfin, too, is well on the mend after hamstring trouble and is now doing some light training alongside fellow defender Ian Hughes.
Town's ticket office is open 9am to 5pm on Monday and Tuesday and will close at 11.30am on Christmas Eve.
Town are closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, but will open 9am to noon on Saturday and from 10am to kick-off on the day of the Bury game.