Mansfield Town could have three of their walking wounded back for Saturday’s trip to Exeter.
Stags have struggled on with nine first teamers unavailable.
But striker Nicky Maynard is back training after his hamstring injury and is likely to figure while skipper Krystian Pearce (ankle) and right back Kellan Gordon (back spasm) both have a chance too.
“The injury list has eased every so slightly,” said manager John Dempster.
“Nicky Maynard will train today and we expect Krystian Pearce and Kellan Gordon to hopefully train tomorrow. They are being assessed today.
“So slowly, but surely, we have some of our big hitters coming back which will strengthen us.
“We look forward to seeing them rejoin the squad in training and then helping us on Saturday.” Dempster said the trio’s return would give the lift a massive tonic.
“It’s massive,” he said. “It goes without saying about KP. He’s club captain and a massive part of the football club – he’s been here for a number of years.
“Kellan is a young player who has come in and took to it like a duck to water. It hasn’t fazed him at all.
“He is a really good young pro, so credit to Derby County as the club that have produced him.
“Nicky Maynard is a massive player for us, so to have those three players back in contention will give the whole football club a massive boost.”