SKIPPER Steven Bell has not given up hope of returning to help Stranraer's bid to avoid relegation.
The midfielder missed just his fifth game of the season on Saturday as the Blues picked up three points with victory over Airdrieonians.
A minimum of three games remain this season, with a trip to Brechin next on the agenda, and Bell, who limped off against Albion Rovers earlier this month after injuring his ankle, has not written off featuring again this campaign.
Speaking ahead of the Airdrie tie, he said: "I'm hopeful of being back - if you had asked me that last Sunday I would not have been very hopeful.
"I've done a little bit of running before the game today but I think it is changing direction, landing on it, going in for tackles and actually kicking the ball, which is going to be a major hurdle for me.
"I don't foresee it being a long-term injury.
"It is just at this time of the season, if it is a three or four week thing, then that is the season over.
"Hopefully, I will be back before the end of the season."
The club captain felt things were heading in the right direction with the swelling going down on the ankle.
The injury came as Bell landed awkwardly after challenging for a header at Cliftonhill a week earlier.
Club physio Matthew Wallace has been working hard to get Bell back in shape and, hopefully, back in contention for the final few weeks.
In the meantime, the 32-year-old will have to be content with a spot on the sidelines.
It is not a great place to be but he is confident the team have the dig and desire to see themselves over the finish line to ensure another season of Scottish League One action at Stair Park.
He said: "It's not about performances now.
"It's about getting the results and making sure we are safe.
"Albion Rovers was a disappointing one, from the top all the way down, and everybody was unhappy about how we performed last week.
"The boys have taken a bit of a pounding all week, to be fair, because we know we were not good enough.
"We made Albion Rovers look great and we know what to expect in the last four games.
"If we can get performances and results that would be great but it's just about results now."
Meanwhile, ahead of kickoff against Airdrie and a short distance from Stair Park, the Stranraer squad were trying their hand at another sport.
Footballers might enjoy a spot of golf on their off days but it was a different kind of green they were concentrating on when they went to Stranraer Bowling Club.
Bell enjoyed the experience but admitted he was unlikely to be swapping football boots for bowling shoes anytime soon.
He said: "I was partnered up with Eric Phillips (goalkeeping coach) and he was good to be fair.
"I think Chris Aitken (assistant manager), he carried the gaffer actually, without giving too much away, he carried Stevie Farrell, that's all you need to know!
"The boys enjoyed it and I think things like that are great for the community.
"We should be doing more of that.
"I used to speak to Stevie Aitken about it and I think it is something the new manager has taken on and he was delighted to go down there.
"It was good for us as well because you are getting to know some of the fans as well.
"It's not a massive crowd that comes down and it is good to get to know some of the fans as well.
"I think, over the years since I have been here, we've done any charity events or like the hospital visit, which Willie Gibson organised before Christmas, and things like that.
"The players love doing things like that because we know how much it means to the fans.
"There is a small nucleus, a small group, but we know how much it means to them."