Long-time absentee Michael Leary is targeting a return to action in time to face his former team-mates in the Boxing Day derby against North Ferriby.
The Gainsborough Trinity captain, who has been out since August with an ankle ligament injury, has resumed light training after undergoing surgery in October.
It has been Leary's longest period of inactivity due to injury during his career and the former Grimsby Town midfielder is keen to return and aid Gainsborough Trinity's Skrill North campaign.
"I have to admit I have looked ahead at our fixtures and I would love to be back in the team for the North Ferriby games over Christmas and New Year," said Leary.
"I have marked the fixture down in my mind as a good time for my return, but first I have to be certain the ankle will be strong enough.
"Then I have to earn a place in the team and that will be down to the manager Steve Housham.
"I started running without any problems and now I will be stepping that up to doing a bit of agility, turning, twisting and sprinting.
"If there is no reaction to all that I will start training with the ball and actually kicking with my left foot.
"It will have to be quite a gradual process because it is basically a new ankle – it has been rebuilt."
If Leary, 30, can prove his fitness in time for the North Ferriby clash on Boxing Day, he will have the chance to face former Trinity team-mates Ryan Kendall, Jamie Yates, Jonathan D'Laryea and Danny Hone.
The four were all part of Trinity's squad when it was well funded by former chairman Peter Swann, who is now at Scunthorpe United.
"I would love to play against the lads again," said Leary.
"It will be a big game. But if the team is doing well there's no guarantee I will be able to get in the side.
"I know it is different here now, but we have some very good players.
"Housh has done so well to bring in experienced players like Ciaran Toner.
"Both of the Ferriby games will be big occasions and I want to be a part of that.
"And then I hope to play a big part in the second half of the season."
Leary, who has also had spells at Bristol Rovers, Walsall and Brentford, believes Trinity still have the quality to challenge for the play-offs.
"We have had a bit of a stop-start first half of the season, but we have the players and the quality here to do well," he added.
"There is always at least one team that comes with a late run and if we have a strong second half of the season I don't see any reason it can't be Gainsborough.
"I think we can start with three points on Saturday away at Barrow.
"It is a tough place to go, but they have their problems at the moment and I think we are finding our form.
"I might not be ready to return to the first team just yet but I will be travelling with the team."
Barrow (a), Saturday, December 7, 3pm; Brackley (h), Tuesday, December 10, 7.45pm