NEIL LENNON is hoping to welcome back James Forrest to first-team action in the near future.

The Scotland international winger has been sidelined for over FOUR months following an ankle injury in the 1-0 win in Riga on September 24.

Forrest underwent surgery on the problem and the 29-year-old has been involved in rehab work as he has battled to regain full fitness to play his part in a campaign that has come off the tracks.

There is hope the consistent Hoops performer can step up his return at the start of next week.

Boss Neil Lennon, speaking to the Scottish Sun, said: “We’re hoping Jamsey will start back training with the squad at the start of next week. Fingers crossed on that.

“He’s been out on the grass doing his rehab fitness work and the physios are confident he’ll be ready to join back in next week.

“We’ve missed him because he’s a quality player. He’s proved that over the years, time and again, and been so successful.

“He had another magnificent session last year and started this season well again. But, unfortunately for him, he got a really bad injury and he’s had to be patient and go through all the right steps.

“But he’s nearly there now and he’ll be welcomed back.”

Forrest’s contribution to the team has often been overlooked, but he has been sorely missed this time around with Lennon missing players with the experience and commitment to step up to the plate.

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