Swansea City’s Wilfried Bony is set to end a nine-month recovery from serious knee injury after being declared fit.
Bony, 29, has not played since damaging knee ligaments in a Premier League defeat by Leicester in February.
Boss Graham Potter has confirmed he is in contention to face Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
“It’s a big boost – it was a big injury and it’s taken time but he’s worked hard, he’s back in the group and we can see his qualities,” said Potter.
The £12m forward had been linked with a summer exit following Swansea’s relegation from the top flight.
Former Manchester City frontman Bony – in his second spell at Swansea – had been tipped to be among those with the club prepared to listen to offers for.
Yet the Ivorian has remained in South Wales with Potter full of praise for his attitude during rehab, hopeful he can make an impact as they look to mount a promotion bid.
Bony scored 34 goals in 70 appearances after first arriving in 2013, prompting a £25m move to Manchester City in January 2015 before returning in August 2017 and scoring three times in 18 games before injury.
“He has had a frustrating period of time and he wants to be out there and help the team,” said Potter, who added winger Jefferson Montero is also close to a return from a recent thigh injury.
“He thinks a lot about the club and had a big feeling for it. Relegation was not something he would have wanted and he wants to contribute and help us win football matches and eventually get us back to where he would probably see us.”
Out of contract in the summer, it has not been ruled out Bony could leave in January once he proves his fitness, but Potter says his focus is only on getting the player back “enjoying his football again”.
He added: “Who knows what happens then. I would like him to feel he is part of something and helping the team. You’re aware you have to keep players spinning but we will see what happens.”
Potter added that Connor Roberts could add to the good news at the Liberty Stadium with the Wales international close to a new contract. The 23-year-old’s current deal is set to expire at the end of the campaign.
Potter described the news of contacts for Jay Fulton, 24, and 23-year-old Matt Grimes as good for “stability now and in the future” with the manager hopeful of confirming a fresh deal for Wales defender Roberts.
“As far as I know it is going well – ongoing and not too far away,” he said. “I know there’s been progress and hopefully soon we can announce something.
“You don’t really want to discuss too much publicly as some happen quickly and some not, it’s just part of the process. I’m not worried too much about it, Connor is happy here.
“He’s enjoying his football here and sees his future here and we can help him. It’s just a case of making sure everything is right for both parties.”