Leicester flanker Tom Croft is edging closer to his comeback from injury according to director of rugby Richard Cockerill.
Croft was sidelined back in April due to a neck injury and has undergone a lengthy rehabilitation process, with Cockerill now hoping that the Lions flanker could face Gloucester on December 29th.
"Tom is probably a week away and that is good news for us," said Cockerill to the Leicester Mercury.
"It will be a slow integration and we will have to look after him. He hasn't played for eight months and we are conscious of that. His injury was a serious one and it's about him being confident when he comes back.
"Tom has seen the specialist and he was pretty happy with what he saw. We will get him back playing and that could be as early as Gloucester. We will just have to see because he hasn't played for so long. I don't normally get good news like that from physios!"
"Tom has put weight on and is looking in good shape, he is 110kg (17-and-a-half stones) now, whereas he has always been around 104kg (16-and-a-half stones) before.
"We feel that extra bulk will make him more robust. He actually looks like a rugby player now! It's just the healing of the bones that has to be right."