Phillip Cocu says Derby County duo Jayden Bogle and Mason Bennett could return to training next week.
The duo are currently sidelined due to injury and will miss Saturday’s trip to Sky Bet Championship leaders Leeds United (12:30pm kick-off).
Defender Bogle has missed Derby’s last seven games with an ankle injury sustained in the 0-0 draw at home to Swansea City in early August.
Forward Bennett, meanwhile, missed last Friday’s 1-1 draw against Cardiff City at Pride Park Stadium with a hamstring issue.
The pair are making good progress in their rehabilitation work and Cocu has hinted that they could return to the fold for next Saturday’s home fixture against Birmingham City.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Thursday, Cocu said: “In terms of the squad, there are not that many changes. Some of the players are getting close to joining the team after injury.
“I expect Mason Bennett to return to training next week and Jayden Bogle is getting close. He trained for part of the session today (Thursday) with the team before doing his individual programme, so if he continues in this way then I expect him to be available for next week’s game (against Birmingham City).”
Cocu has also indicated that defenders Andre Wisdom and Craig Forsyth are in line to feature for the Under-23s in their Premier League 2 Division 1 clash against Manchester City at Pride Park Stadium on Saturday (1pm kick-off).
Both players featured for the Under-23s in last weekend’s 3-3 draw with Liverpool after recovering from long-term knee injuries.
However, George Evans and Ikechi Anya remain in the treatment room.
“The other injuries, such as George Evans with his muscle injury and Ikechi Anya, will take some time,” he said.
Forward Tom Lawrence will also sit out the trip to Leeds due to suspension.
He will serve a one-match ban after picking up five yellow cards so far this season.
Cocu has options to replace the Wales international with Florian Jozefzoon and Jamie Paterson vying to come into the side.
He said: “It’s a big blow to lose Tom due to suspension but we have to deal with it. He can’t play so someone else will take his place in the team.
“It’s not an excuse for us and whoever plays will be able to perform well in his position and we have players like Florian Jozefzoon and Jamie Paterson as options.
“Florian started the season well but continued with some physical issues, which he tried to deal with, but he stopped for a week to recover from his foot injury. I am now seeing a Jozefzoon like I know.
“On Jamie, he needed time to settle in. We had a one-on-one last week with him to talk about how he is settling in, what we want from him and how he has to adapt to our play. I have seen some positive things from that meeting.”