It's been a long 10-month recovery for Seamus Coleman but, finally, his return to the Everton fold is almost here.
The right-back will play football for the first time since last March as part of the Toffees' Under-23s side against Portsmouth in the Premier League Cup on Tuesday evening, and his comeback will be a massive fillip to Sam Allardyce's senior ranks.
Coleman couldn't have timed his return from a broken leg better with options extremely limited at full-back - Jonjoe Kenny and Cuco Martina being desperate for a rest after playing every game over the past two months.
Despite this desire to give the youngster and auxiliary left-back a breather, however, Allardyce must take heed not to rush Coleman back into the thick of it straight away.
Coleman will naturally be champing at the bit to feature for the Blues as soon as possible, and help arrest yet another poor run that has seen them fail to win any of the past seven encounters in all competitions.
Allardyce, however, already has previous for throwing another long-term absentee - Yannick Bolasie - into the fray after just a couple of short Under-23s stints with the need to utilise his attacking verve and skill to try and arrest his side's recent slide.
(You may also be interested in Burnley Confirm Signing of Aaron Lennon From Everton for Undisclosed Fee)
The DR Congo international was brought back ahead of schedule - Allardyce stated as much - and the 63-year-old will have to hold off on running the risk with another senior star if he hopes to get the best out of him.
Bolasie has looked well off the pace at times in his few run outs this term, and it will be next season before he is close to his best form.
The same will be true for Coleman, and Evertonians will do well to temper expectations that the ex-Sligo Rovers starlet will be the catalyst for an upturn in form.
In truth, bringing Coleman back into the first-team fold quickly is something of a double-edged sword. There's no denying that his return is a huge boost for Everton, and that they do need his experience, trademark bursts down the right and fighting spirit to help alleviate the rot that's set in once more.
On the other hand, however, it will be remiss of Allardyce and Everton's medical team to throw Coleman in at the deep end and expect him to single-handedly haul the Blues out of their current predicament - especially from his chosen position at right full-back.
Allardyce and Everton need Coleman back, regardless of how match fit he is. They must take heed, however, that he isn't rushed back too soon for fear of a setback.