Mansfield Town are now hoping striker Danny Rose can recover from his serious facial injuries to be back in contention in a couple of weeks.
From potentially being out for the season, optimism is growing that Rose can come back far sooner than expected after an operation to mend a double break of his jaw from the Newport defeat almost three weeks ago.
Although very underweight after being forced to ensure a liquid diet, Rose is progressing quickly and ultimately it will be down to the player to be mentally ready for physical contact once more.
Boss David Flitcroft said: “Hopefully we will have Danny back fit in the next couple of weeks depending on how his recovery goes. There is hope and I am a real optimist.
“I can’t give a definitive date but the signs are looking good. From where we were at, I thought he was out for the season and that was the general consensus then.
“But the operation was really successful and positive and we have go to see what he’s like when he comes back into contact in and around the training ground.
“Hopefully we will have him back sooner than later. It’s given me a lot of hope.
“It’s been really positive since he had the operation. “
Rose is working on upping his fitness and food intake at the moment.
Flicroft said: “This week he has started to get more food in him. He has lost about three and half to four kilos – a big weight loss.
“We are building that up now with supplements.
“He is back out on the grass again now and out of the gym.
“He is not with the first team, just the medical staff. We have got to step it up this week.”