Aberdeen have received a double fitness boost with Kelle Roos and Connor Barron both returning to training after injury.
However interim boss Barry Robson insists he will not rush either back for fear of derailing their recovery.
Dons first choice keeper Roos has been sidelined for seven weeks since suffering a thigh injury in the Viaplay Cup semi-final loss to Rangers on January 15.
Roos’ injury blow forced the Dons to make a late raid in the January transfer market for emergency goalkeeper back-up.
Keeper Jay Gorter was secured on loan from Dutch giants Ajax until the end of the season.
On his Pittodrie arrival Gorter was pitched straight into the starting line-up, replacing last season’s No.1 Joe Lewis.
Gorter has started the last five games under interim boss Barry Robson and helped the Reds secure three wins.
Midfielder Barron has been sidelined for five weeks with a groin injury and last featured in the 6-0 loss at Hibs on January 28.
Robson said: “Kelle has come back into training.
“Due to the nature of his injury, with that long strike of the ball, that was his issue.
“Although he is back we are just being really careful with that.”
Measures so Roos doesn’t ‘overdo it’
Loan keeper Gorter has been named in the provisional Netherlands U21s squad to face Norway and the Czech Republic at the end of this month.
Dutch stopper Roos is the Dons’ number one and had started every game this season until suffering the injury at Hampden.
Robson revealed he has had to put some restrictions on Roos in training to ensure he doesn’t overdo his work and set back his recovery.
He said: “It’s good to see Kelle back out there on the pitch.
“However, we’ve had to put a few curbs on him so he can’t overdo it.”
Barron’s season hampered by injury
Scotland U21 international midfielder Barron’s season has been blighted by injury.
Having made a first team breakthrough last January he was the standout performer for the Dons in the second half of last season.
His impressive form saw Barron linked with Premier League Brentford and Belgian club Genk.
Premiership champions Celtic were also reportedly monitoring the 20-year-old.
Barron was also shortlisted for the PFA Young Player of the Year last season.
However injury has prevented the midfielder building on that initial momentum.
He was ruled out for the first three months of the campaign having suffered a knee injury during a pre-season friendly.
Barron did not return to action until October and has struggled to command a regular starting slot.
He has played just 22 minutes of Premiership football in 2023.
Barron’s last appearance before suffering his latest injury set-back was as a late substitute in the 6-0 loss at Hibs.
That was Jim Goodwin’s last game before being sacked.
‘We need to make sure he is right’
Robson accepts after a frustrating season Barron will be ‘chapping at the bit’ to get back to action.
However the interim boss refuses to rush his return for fear that could have negative repercussions years down the line for Barron.
Robson insists he suffered the same injury as Barron during his playing career.
And he knows the right rehabilitation process and time scale.
Robson said: “Connor is back in training and he obviously had a slight issue.
“But we need to make sure that he is right.
“Connor will be champing at the bit to get going.
“But I know him better than he know himself so I need to make sure he is right with the injury he has had.
“So that when he comes back he is right and is not affected six or seven years down the line because he is trying push it back too quick.
“I know how quick he wants to get back.
“But I have had the injury before so I know what I’m doing with it.”