Ben Foster is in contention for a recall for West Bromwich Albion on Saturday after returning to full training.
The former England goalkeeper has been out longer than expected after twice undergoing surgery since his last appearance - in the 2-0 home win over Southampton at the start of November.
But he has stepped up his work since resuming light training last week and could be back at the expense of Boaz Myhill for the visit of Norwich in two days' time.
"I've been having groin problems but it was really a double-hernia operation,'' Foster said.
"I had one side operated on and that was all fine. I got back into training and pretty much straightaway it was apparent the other side needed doing.
"So it has been a whole lot longer than I thought it was going to be but, hopefully, it's all sorted now and we can crack on.
"I started training yesterday and felt absolutely fine, so we will see how training goes this week and take it from there."
Foster's injury became apparent during the Southampton game when he was forced to kick with his weaker right foot rather than his left one.
As he nears fitness, full-back Steven Reid faces the frustration of another fortnight on the sidelines.
He suffered bone bruising in Albion's defeat at Arsenal 12 days ago and now looks like missing the entire Christmas programme, with the home game against Fulham on New Year's Day the earliest for which he may be available.
Reid has already had one substantial absence this season with a hamstring problem.
Argentinian Claudio Yacob is also expected to miss the Norwich game as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury.
Albion will be looking for their first win in five matches when they take on one of the Premier League's form teams.