Michael Johnson is heading back to the fighting fitness level that will leave Mark Hughes feeling as if he's signed a new "multi-million-pound player" to boost the chase for Europe.
The gifted young midfielder, close to completing his comeback from a year out with a troublesome pelvic injury, played the full 90 minutes in Monday night's 1-1 reserve draw with Blackburn.
But Johnson's agony and frustration at the problems that put his blossoming career on hold were etched in his features as he battled to get back on the pitch, revealed coach Eddie Niedzwiecki.
He said: "Jonno is a young player who's had an horrendous time with injuries, and at times you could see it in his face that he was devastated by what had happened to him.
"As a youngster, all you want to do is to play football, to be out there. Instead he had a year out after doing ever so well at Sunderland at the end of August and then breaking down.
"However hard you work, if you're not playing you put on the odd pound here and there, but believe me, he's been working really hard and he's looking better by the day and by the game.
Jonno is a young player who's had an horrendous time with injuries, and at times you could see it in his face that he was devastated by what had happened to him.
...Eddie on Jonno...
"He came on against Scunthorpe and scored that wonderful goal, and the boss and Mark Bowen are both of the opinion that for him to come back is like signing a multi-million-pound player.
"Michael is a quality footballer and the target is just for him to be playing games, working on his fitness and training day in, day out. He has missed that."
Jonno came through unscathed against Blackburn and is likely to be on the bench against Hull City this Saturday. Tickets for the Hull match are available online at www.mcfc.co.uk/tickets with no booking fee.