WREXHAM'S Trinidad international Carlos Edwards is on course to resume full training in a fortnight and could be back in League One action by mid-January.
The 26-year-old wing-back, sidelined since the summer after an operation to repair cruciate ligament damage, has stepped up rehabilitation work and club physiotherapist Mel Pejic is delighted with his progress.
"His general fitness is not bad because he's been working hard in the gym and he's a naturally fit lad," he said. "He's been doing some running as well and should be back in full training early next month.
"He missed pre-season but has more than made up for it in the past few weeks and what he needs is to join the professionals on a daily basis.
"Because we've stuck to the best medical advice and he's been out for six months, there is no point pushing him too hard but, all things being equal, he will be playing league football by the end of January and possibly a little bit before."
Pejic, one of the busiest men at the club's Colliers Park training ground this season, also expects Dean Bennett to be pushing for a recall in the coming weeks.
The summer signing from Kidderminster Harriers has been absent for two months due to a hernia operation but will rejoin his first team colleagues next week while midfielder Matt Crowell, who suffered a groin strain last week, should be fit for the festive programme.
Pejic is still awaiting the results of a scan to determine the extent of Brian Carey's knee problem but, contrary to reports elsewhere, the experienced central defender is unlikely to need a second operation.
Wrexham's other long-term casualty, Danny Williams, who has a back problem, is making slow progress.
The improving injury picture will be welcomed by manager Denis Smith who, despite seeing his side concede eight in their last two defeats, has decided not to play Scrooge, even though Wrexham need Christmas points at Bradford City on Boxing Day.
"The lads will have Christmas Day off because there's more to lose than to gain from bringing them in," he said yesterday..
"If they all lived locally it might be different but quite a few live in and around Manchester. By the time they've travelled here and back for an hour's training it could be counter-productive.
"They will have Thursday off and come in the following day."
The Dragons boss proposes not to dwell on Saturday's 5-1 home defeat by Hartlepool United, claiming there was little point holding a detailed inquest.
"I need to put my views across but if you analyse the game it doesn't add up to the result," he said..
"That's football. Obviously we made mistakes but it's not very often you are punished like we were. Even in training in oneon-ones with the goalkeeper, you would not expect to see four go in from five shots.
"I don't need to tell the players they did not play well.
"I'm not changing the way our defenders play because of individual errors."