Influential Cove Rangers midfielder Fraser Fyvie is on course to end an eight- month injury nightmare at the weekend.
The 30-year-old former Aberdeen, Hibs and Wigan Athletic star has not played a competitive game for Cove Rangers since January.
Fyvie’s last competitive appearance was in a 6-0 loss to Queen’s Park on January 6 when he suffered an ankle injury that required surgery.
Former Scotland U21 international Fyvie returned to training this week.
Cove Rangers boss Paul Hartley confirmed the midfielder is in contention to face Kelty Hearts in League One action at the Balmoral Stadium on Saturday.
Hartley’s side have taken only four points from the opening five league fixtures.
The Cove Rangers gaffer hopes Fyvie’s return can provide a spark to ignite the campaign.
Hartley said: “It was great to have Fraser back in training on Tuesday.
“It has been eight months for Fraser and he had to have an operation.
“Then he has been on and off with his thigh and knee.
“Fraser is a great professional who prepares properly and tries to get himself back in good condition.
“Hopefully we can get him on a run of games now.
“He is definitely in contention for the Kelty game.”
Fyvie can deliver a ‘spark’ for Cove
Hartley led Cove Rangers from League Two to the Championship, winning the League One title in 2021-22.
He then left Cove Rangers to join Hartlepool United in summer 2022.
Hartley returned to the Balmoral Stadium club in January this year with Fyvie suffering the ankle injury in his first game in charge.
He said: “I have only had Fraser for the one game which was against Queen’s Park and he got injured in that.
“Fraser is a good player who really sees the game.
“Hopefully he is that player who can give us that little spark we need just now.”
Return to action of midfielder Yule
Fyvie’s return is the second significant recent fitness boost for Cove Rangers.
Influential midfielder Blair Yule also returned from long term injury when introduced as a second-half substitute in Cove’s 2-0 SPFL Trust Trophy loss to Montrose on Saturday.
Yule had been sidelined with a knee injury since April.
Hartley said: “Having Fraser and Blair back is great.
“The better players we get back, hopefully the stronger we can become.
“Blair got half an hour last week which was a boost for us and he has had some more sessions.
“Hopefully we can step Blair up again as he is a vital player for us.
“We have had a bad run of injuries since I came back.
“Hopefully we can keep those two healthy and part of the team going forward to really kick-start our season.”
Expecting tough test from Kelty
Hartley overhauled the Cove Rangers squad during a busy summer transfer window with 20 new signings.
Winning promotion back to the Championship is the target having suffered relegation to Scotland’s third tier at the end of last season.
After a three-game losing streak Hartley is determined to get back to winning ways – but expects a tough test from Kelty Hearts.
He said: “I know Michael (Tidser, Kelty Hearts manager) pretty well as he was a young kid at Celtic when I was there.
“Kelty are a young team with a lot of energy and I expect a tough game like every game in this division is.”