SWINDON Town are hopeful Alex Smith could return to first-team action before Christmas after a recent operation on his knee was successful.

Smith joined the Robins from Fulham in the summer but only featured five times in a red shirt before being forced off during the Capital One Cup victory at QPR in August.

Last week the utility player went under the knife and, although the Advertiser understands there were initial fears he would be ruled out for around four months, Smith may figure in Town’s matchday plans before the turn of the year.

Robins first-team coach Luke Williams said: “We don’t want to put a timescale on it but the initial reaction is that it has gone well and he is very much par for the course at the minute.

“He’s on course with his recovery but we don’t want to put a timescale on it. We hope to see him in the new year for sure.”

Another long-term casualty is winger Tijane Reis, whose level of recovery Williams was unwilling to divulge.

He said: “With Tijane it’s more complicated but again he’s par for the course. We’ve got a very good medical team in there and they’re looking after him as well as any other club could.

“He’s got a good chance of making a full recovery but we don’t want to put a timescale on Tijane.”

Meanwhile Troy Archibald-Henville’s knee continues to be treated by Swindon’s medical staff.

“We’re managing Troy to make sure we don’t push him too hard and make him break down because he’s got a history with that leg and we need to manage it,” said Williams.

“The medical team are on the money so we’ll leave them with that.”