Newcastle United midfielder Alan Smith has begun his long comeback from injury after returning to training.
The 30-year-old shattered his ankle in the Tyne-Wear derby in January after a tackle by Kieran Richardson.
But the former England midfielder is back running again, to the delight of assistant manager John Carver.
“During his injury Alan has played a big part off the field for us," Carver said.
“Just because a player is injured it doesn’t mean they don’t have a part to play, and Alan has been an excellent example of that.”
Smith's agent, Alex Black said: “Alan has been running with Simon Tweddle at the training ground. He’s doing well.
“There’s a slight chance he could play again this season but it could well be next season when we see him back.”