Missing since January, Jordan Moore-Taylor could feature in an MK Dons shirt again next week.
The defender, who made 25 appearances last season, had knee surgery early in 2019 and has not been seen in a Dons shirt since January 26 and the 1-0 defeat to Grimsby.
But after a lengthy rehabilitation process, manager Paul Tisdale has said this Saturday's trip to Sunderland may be too early for him, but has earmarked a return for the 25-year-old for next Tuesday when Dons take on Fulham U21s in the Leasing.com Trophy at Stadium MK.
He said: "You never know what's around the corner, so the more players the better. He has trained incredibly hard. He is under the supervision of Simon and Adam in the treatment room, and worked so hard with Tom and Matt in the gym, and doing session on the training ground on his own.
"When you've been out for nine months, that bridging period is hard. He's done that, he's worked hard and I'm hoping he'll play a part on Tuesday against Fulham. It'll be great to have him back in the frame. At his best, he would certainly be a leading player for us."