Melbourne Victory are set to be boosted by the imminent return of marquee Keisuke Honda, who is expected to be back from injury in time for February's blockbuster with A-League leaders Perth Glory.
The Japanese playmaker has been absent from Victory's squad since being a late withdrawal because of a hamstring issue for December's Christmas derby against Melbourne City.
Honda engaged in short sprints while at training this week and is expected to join the main group shortly, with a view to being available for the Glory match at AAMI Park on February 10.
Victory have only lost one of their eight league matches without the 32-year-old veteran, who started the season on fire with five goals and three assists.
The club's squad depth is also set to improve further with German centre-half Georg Niedermeier in the mix to play against Perth after recovering from an ankle injury, while James Donachie is expected to finalise his return to the club on loan.
Kevin Muscat's side face a trip to an improving Central Coast on Saturday, before preparing to meet Tony Popovic's Glory, who hold a four-point lead over second-placed Victory.