Gary Roberts has pencilled in a Boxing Day return as he seeks to end his Pompey injury frustration.
The influential midfielder hasn’t featured since October after being hampered by an ankle problem.
I have only played 13 games for the club, I have missed too many matches for my liking, there is nothing worse than watching the lads play and me not being with themGary Roberts
Roberts opted against an operation which could have potentially ruled him out for four months.
Instead he has focused on strengthening his problematic right ankle, which had two torn tendons as well as ligament damage.
The 31-year-old, who has been restricted to 13 appearances since his arrival from Chesterfield, was encouragingly back outside running on Monday.
He is aiming to return to full training with Paul Cook’s squad at the end of next week.
And Roberts is eyeing a comeback at Leyton Orient on Boxing Day as his first-team target.
He said: ‘I will have had four days of running this week and that will continue next week.
‘It is basically me trying to get away from the physio!
‘I feel fine, I am ready to go and it’s just getting past Sean (Duggan). He is the Grim Reaper of the training ground at the moment!
‘He’s looking after me, running me and getting me back up to speed with fitness but I am desperate to get involved now.
‘The ankle feels fine and I have come through everything asked of me.
‘The last few weeks of an injury – as ever – is worse because I think I am ready and the physio is holding you back. It is just getting to that end bit where I am so desperate to be back involved.
‘I have only played 13 games for the club. I have missed too many matches for my liking.
‘There is nothing worse than watching the lads play and me not being with them.
‘I have been out too long now and it’s about time I got back on to the pitch. I want to get back and do something.
‘Hopefully I will be in full training maybe Wednesday or Thursday next week, then I am looking towards Leyton Orient as a comeback.
‘I have been out for eight weeks last Tuesday, that’s a long time.’
Roberts initially damaged his ankle during the first half of the 3-1 win over Barnet in September. Although returning to make six more appearances, the problem did not go away, prompting the ex-Swindon man to take time out.
He added: ‘I have torn two tendons in my ankle, which is the problem.
‘The ligaments have been damaged as well but it is the tendons which are more of an issue.
‘If you rupture your tendon it is bad, especially in your ankle, and that is why the physio is being really careful with it, strengthening it and hoping it heals.
‘I didn’t want to have the operation. It would have put me out for four months, so I’ve been strengthening all the tendons and all the muscles around my ankle to make sure I don’t go over on it again.’