Declan Bonner says his plan was always to bring Michael Murphy back into the fold after the break in the Allianz League.
Murphy will sit out the games against Clare, Meath and Tipperary, but the Glenswilly man is expected to return for the home fixture against Rory Gallagher’s Fermanagh on February 24.
“We always knew that was happening,” Bonner said.
“Our plan, all along, was to get Michael in for the break in the National League. He’s on schedule to come in at that and we’ll see Michael after the break.”
The Gaoth Dobhair crew and Red Hughs’ Stephen McMenamin continue to be absent as they prepare for All-Ireland club semi-finals.
Patrick McBrearty is on course for a return for Donegal’s Ulster SFC clash with Fermanagh in May with the Kilcar man making good progress on recover from a cruciate injury.
Kieran Gillespie, also rehabbing from a cruciate set-back, has a targeted return of later in the summer.
Bonner is in largely experimental mode during the Dr McKenna Cup, but will welcome some more experienced players back for the trip to Ennis to face Clare on January 27.
Leo McLoone, Paddy McGrath and Eoghan Ban Gallagher could all be in tow for that one, while Frank McGlynn, like Murphy, will be returned later in the League.
Bonner said: “They’re all mad keen to get back in. They can see the young boys going well.”