Ben Cunnington is set to provide the most uplifting moment of North Melbourne's difficult AFL season as the midfielder closes in on a courageous return.
The Kangaroos veteran has not played since round 19, 2021 after battling testicular cancer.
Cunnington was tracking well to return last month before tweaking his calf at training, and last week tested positive for COVID-19.
But the dual North best-and-fairest winner is set to be available for this Sunday's clash with Sydney at Marvel Stadium.
"Ben had a strong footy conditioning and strength session on Sunday, and will fall into the main group training this week," North's head of performance Kevin White told the club's website.
"He'll be available to play if he clears training Thursday."
Cunnington was one of six players, along with caretaker coach Leigh Adams, to have tested positive for COVID-19 following North's deflating round-19 loss against Hawthorn in Hobart.
The 31-year-old was still one of the Kangaroos' best midfielders before his cancer battle and he has been sorely missed by the club this season.
He averaged almost 27 possessions a game during the 2021 campaign and his bigger body took the heat off North's upcoming youngsters.
North sit bottom of the ladder with a 2-17 record heading into the final three games of the season.
The Kangaroos will remember their 1996 premiership victory on Sunday with club greats gathering to celebrate the famous grand final win over the Swans.