Chalfont St Peter are hoping to get Charlie Strutton back for what could prove to be a crucial last few months of the season.
The former Saints striker, who was sold to AFC Wimbledon five years ago, returned on loan from Maidenhead United last year but was struck down by injury.
But Chalfont boss Danny Edwards is hoping for a March return for the striker, who scored more than 200 goals in his first spell at the club.
He said: “We're looking at probably the spring time for Charlie, and then hope he has a good pre-season for next year really. I think the plan would be to get five or six weeks in at the end of the season and see how the ankle is holding up after the operation.
“We'll see where he stands about where he can go and what he's doing in the summer, whether he wants to get back playing at pro level or come back to playing at this level. If I can get a fit Charlie Strutton for five or six weeks, he's the best centre forward in the league.
“Someone like that coming in would be a huge bonus, so fingers crossed for him. The injury killed him a bit. I've known him for so long, and I could tell he was struggling when running. If we can get a fit Charlie back by March, and he can get five or six weeks in, then that would be great.
“When we lost Tony Mendy, who was always going to be difficult to replace, I knew Charlie was available, and I thought he would be the man to replace Tony and get me 25 goals. Losing Tony and then Charlie getting injured has meant we haven't had that.”
The lack of a regular goal scorer has seen Chalfont struggle for form since before Christmas, and Saturday's 2-0 home defeat to Kidlington saw no signs of improvement, but they at least stopped the rot with Tuesday night's goalless draw at Histon.
Saints, who sit 17 in Southern One Central, visit Northwood, who are one place above the and on the same points, this Saturday.