Liam Donnelly has not long returned to the Motherwell team after almost a season and a half of injury problems but now finds himself on the cusp of another enforced break.
However, the midfielder is just relieved to be back out on the pitch and will make the most of their Boxing Day clash with Livingston before looking to get going again after the extended winter intermission.
Donnelly suffered a knee injury in Dingwall on the first weekend of last season which ultimately ruled him out of the remainder of the campaign.
After making his comeback at the start of this season for both Motherwell and Northern Ireland, he suffered a couple of minor injuries which put him back in the treatment room.
But he was back in action against St Johnstone last week, in his first Motherwell start since mid-August, and delivered an assured display in central midfield as Graham Alexander’s team won 2-0 at Fir Park.
The 25-year-old looks set to start against Livingston again, with Callum Slattery suspended and Mark O’Hara and Barry Maguire both absent last weekend.
“It was nice to be back out on the pitch again,” Donnelly said. “I had a few games at the start of the season but I had a few niggles after coming back from the knee injury.
“The knee recovered well and I haven’t had any problems with it, but the long-term effect of being out for a lengthy period can be picking up other smaller niggles.
“None of them were anything serious, just two small things on the back of each other. Hopefully that’s the end of them now and I can get more minutes on the pitch.
“Obviously I would like as many games as I can now to hopefully keep up the performance from the weekend, but we will be ready to come straight back after the break and hopefully hit the ground running again.”
Boxing Day will be a new Fir Park experience for Donnelly with a crowd of just 500 under new government restrictions, although he was involved in some Premier Sports Cup games at the start of the season with reduced capacities.
“I didn’t actually play here with no fans, but I was at all the games,” he said. “Even sitting in the stand with no atmosphere was different.
“I think it’s harder for players to motivate yourself and it’s difficult to get yourself going properly without the noise of the fans.
“It will be strange and something we are not happy with, but hopefully we get them back in as soon as possible.”