Aston Villa central defender Richard Dunne has set his sights on a return to training in two weeks after undergoing a second operation on his long-term groin problem.
Dunne has been sidelined since initially suffering the setback with the Republic of Ireland during their Euro 2012 campaign and has not played since. But the 33-year-old, who is in the final year of his contract, is finally hoping there is light at the end of the tunnel.
"The last operation I had seems to have really worked so I'm hopeful that I'll be back soon," Dunne told the Birmingham Mail.
"I've set a few targets but I keep missing them.
"It's frustrating when I can do all the running and the rehab but not the final bit.
"But I'm hoping - fingers crossed - that I can start training in a couple of weeks.
"I've got to see the doctor and from there, hopefully it will be the all clear."
Dunne has endured a frustrating period with injuries during 2012 after suffering a broken collarbone which caused him to miss the final part of last season.
He said: "I've been lucky not to have too many injuries during my career but it's been almost seven months where I've not been fit."