Hibs head coach Neil Lennon admits he is expecting a triple first-foot boost from John McGinn, Fraser Fvyie and Ofir Marciano in the new year.
The influential trio are making good progress in their respective rehabilitation programmes following injury and could even be in contention for the top of the table Championship showdown with Dundee United on January 6.
Scotland internationalist McGinn was initially ruled out for up to eight weeks after undergoing an operation to mend a worsening ankle problem on November 23, while fellow midfielder Fyvie has been sidelined for the same time with a groin tear.
Lennon recruited Kris Commons on an emergency month-long loan from Celtic last week after being plunged into a sudden injury crisis but admits there is light at the end of the tunnel, with Dylan McGeouch also available following a groin problem.
Lennon, whose team host Raith Rovers tomorrow before travelling to Falkirk on Hogmanay, said: “John and Fraser are doing well and hopefully they will both be back early in the new year. John had a good day yesterday.
“John has had surgery and there is no specific time limit and we will not rush it.
“Fraser is making steady progress on the groin tear, again, we’re hoping he’ll be fit for the new year too.
“Ofir has had minor surgery and the medical staff are pleased with his progress and hopefully we will see him in the new year.
“It would be nice if they’re all back at the same time.
“There is no doubt we’ve have missed John and Fraser as they have dove-tailed quite nicely together but Andrew Shinnie has played very well in any position we have asked him to play.”
Lennon is currently running the rule over unnamed trialists in training but admits the impending availability of his returning midfielders means he will not be looking to make wholesale changes when the transfer window reopens next month.
He added: “I think with John and Fraser coming back in, that’s pretty handy.
“So whether we look to strengthen in that area or not is another thing because the two of them were playing really well before they both got injured simultaneously.
“So we are looking at areas to improve the team and we’ll try and do that in January.
“I wouldn’t say (I’m looking to sign) that many. But you are always looking for that one who may make the extra special difference.
“We have had a couple of players in so we’ve been assessing them over the last week or so.”
Lennon, meanwhile, insists Celtic playmaker Commons’ vast experience is already rubbing off on others on the training pitch.
He added: “I think he has been a good influence around the place.
“He has that sort of aura or influence that top players, and he has been a top player, have.
“A player of his calibre can bring the best out of the rest of the players.
“We are obviously very pleased to have him here and he is looking to get some game time, so it works both ways.
“He hasn’t played for a long time so I think the 90 minutes on Saturday at Morton will have done him the world of good.
“I just think he wants to get cracking and get playing, and being around a first team environment has got his juices going again.”