Stoke City midfielder Matthew Etherington is making positive progress in his race to be fit for the FA Cup final at Wembley on 14 May.
Etherington has enjoyed another sterling season for the Potters, but was cruelly injured in last week's Staffordshire derby against Wolves.
The hamstring injury sustained in the Barclays Premier League encounter was met with dismay by Stoke fans, who still hold out hope of their star player returning to fitness in time for the final showdown with Manchester City.
Stoke boss Tony Pulis will give his wing wizard every chance of making a comeback, and emphasised how crucial the first week of treatment would be to his rehabilitation.
Assistant manager Dave Kemp remained upbeat about Etherington’s chances of winning his race against the clock, saying:
"We certainly feeling more positive about the situation now, he's making good progress.
"That doesn't mean he is going to play, but with eight days to go he is in with a shout at this stage and we'll certainly give him every chance."
The medical team and the excellent facilities that Stoke have at their Calyton Wood training ground will give Etherington the best possible chance of featuring in next Saturday's FA Cup final.
"Matty has spent a lot of time in the hydrotherapy pool which has been a big help to the medical team and the sight of him doing some light training outside with the fitness guys has lifted everyone's spirits over the past few days.
"We want him to be there on the day and we will wait until just before the kick-off at Wembley if necessary, so we're keeping our fingers crossed."