Frank Lampard is hopeful of welcoming Martyn Waghorn, Craig Bryson and Mason Mount back into full training with the Derby County squad next week.
The trio have been sidelined with injuries in recent weeks but have been stepping up their workload during the international break.
Waghorn sustained a hamstring injury at the start of November against Birmingham City, while midfield pair Bryson (calf) and Mount (ankle) have also spent time in the treatment room in recent weeks.
The Derby boss has revealed that the three players are on track to resume training next week.
The news comes as a significant boost after the setback of losing Craig Forsyth and Mason Bennett to long-term injuries in last Saturday’s clash against Aston Villa.
Speaking to RamsTV on Thursday, Lampard said: “Martyn Waghorn has been training a lot with the physios and I believe he will be training with us from the start of next week.
“Craig Bryson is the same, although he has been out of action a bit longer obviously.
“Mason Mount is probably one or two steps behind that, but we are hopeful to have them (all three) training with us by the middle of next week.”
He added: “That’s the good news coming off the bad news (Craig Forsyth and Mason Bennett’s long-term injuries) - so let’s hope that follows through and they are available for the difficult games we’ve got coming up.”
Another player pushing to return to the fold and make up for lost time is George Evans.
The midfielder joined Derby from Reading back in August but suffered a knee injury on his league debut against Ipswich Town a few weeks later.
After recovering from a minor setback last month, Evans is now back in full training and is continuing to increase his sharpness.
Lampard said: “George has been training with us this week and it’s about how we manage that now.
“He has had a tough time with the injury. With the more hard training and minutes he gets, maybe with the Under-23s once they finish their mini-break, I am really hopeful to see George fully back in.
“He has been so desperate to be back and show everyone at Derby County what a good player he is.
“Unfortunately, he’s only had 20 minutes or so in the league for us but I am sure once he’s fully fit we will have a really good young player on our hands.”
Two other players making their way back to fitness are Joe Ledley and Marcus Olsson.
Ledley underwent a hip procedure during October while Olsson is making good progress after suffering an ACL injury at the end of last season.
Lampard commented: “Joe has flown out of the blocks in terms of his recovery.
“It is a difficult injury, so it will take a little bit more time but he is doing really well. The daily reports I get have always been positive, so far.
“Marcus is working hard too. He is outside, which is great to see, and that has happened in the last couple of weeks.
“The dates we are looking for are January time for him to be back integrated with the squad, but these injuries take time.”