The 37-year-old midfielder has been sidelined since suffering a calf injury during preseason, but he is now back in full training and could feature for the first time in a competitive fixture since last October when NYCFC host their local rivals at Yankee Stadium this weekend.
“Frank is doing really well,” Vieira told MLSsoccer.com. “There’s a chance, a big chance, he will be part of the 18 for the game on Saturday. His calf has been responding quite well, training in the last few days with the rest of the team so he should get involved on Saturday.”
The Chelsea legend has been limited to just 10 appearances for NYCFC as a result, scoring three times, and some have even gone as far as to label him the league’s worst-ever signing due his £4 million-per-annum contract.
Nevertheless, midfield teammate Andrea Pirlo is confident that his fellow veteran will soon silence the critics once he is back on the field.
“He’s been training for a week already and he’s ready to get out there and start playing, but we’ll wait and see,” Pirlo told MLSSoccer.com. “He’s a great champion, he’s gone through a lot, a number of injuries and he’s doing all that he can to get back on the field.
“He still has a great amount of passion, he wants to play and I’m sure if he does, he will be a great help to our team.”
NYCFC currently sit atop the Eastern Conference following Wednesday night’s 1-1 draw at Toronto FC, having recorded four wins, five draws and suffered just three defeats in their opening 12 games of the season to leave them with 17 points.
After missing the playoffs in their inaugural campaign, they go into Saturday’s cash with the Red Bulls on a franchise-record five-match unbeaten streak and looking to record their first-ever win over Jesse Marsch’s men.
The club lost all three of their matchups against the reigning Supporters’ Shield champions last term under Vieira’s predecessor Jason Kreis, but confidence is high going into their first encounter of 2016 following their recent run of results.
"We can't wait. It's a big game," midfielder Mix Diskerud told nycfc.com. "I think all the supporters have been looking forward to it and counting the days down. We're doing much better this time around and have a lot of confidence going in.
"But we're still as humble as can be. We know it's going to be a difficult game, so it's about hard work and everyone coming together."