Manchester United manager David Moyes has revealed Darren Fletcher is moving closer to making his first senior appearance for the club since Boxing Day 2012.
The 29-year-old has not played a senior game for Manchester United for 11 months due to contracting a form of inflammatory bowel disease.
Fletcher, who made just 10 appearances for Manchester United last season, returned to action at the beginning of November when he played the full 90 minutes for Warren Joyce's development side against Stoke City.
The Scottish international came through the match unscathed and is now likely to step up his comeback preparations by playing in Manchester United's upcoming reserve match against Blackburn Rovers.
Moyes, who refused to announce a possible return date for his fellow countryman, has insisted Fletcher is nearing a return to full fitness.
"I don't think he's quite ready yet," said Moyes. "He has a bit to do in terms of more reserve games.
"It's great to see him training regularly, that's a big thing. He's beginning to look like a footballer again, and that in itself is a real plus for him.
"I wouldn't want to put a date on [a return] because of the condition. It's something we just have to take as we go along.
"He's training well and looking good, so we'll try to ensure that continues. I would hate to put a date on things and I'd need to check in with the doctors as well that everything is going to plan."
Moyes will be desperate for Fletcher to return to action in the near future, as Manchester United's central midfield remains their main weakness.