Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta is ready to face Barclays Premier League newcomers QPR at Goodison Park this weekend despite missing key parts of pre-season through injury.
The Spaniard injured a foot on the club's tour to the United States last month and although fears he had broken a bone were quickly dismissed, it impeded his preparation. However, he played 67 minutes of a friendly with Bohemians in Ireland on Monday night and feels ready for action.
"It's good to be back. I nearly broke my foot in a tackle in America," the 29-year-old told the Liverpool Echo. Thankfully it wasn't but it took a couple of weeks to find out due to the swelling. I couldn't train but hopefully now I can get my fitness back and start the season properly."
He added: "It was not ideal because in pre-season you want to take part in every session and play all the games to get in the best condition possible for the start.
"But it's not been the case. I've been working really hard in the last 10 days and we'll see how I do in the game against QPR.
"I will tell you how far I am off full fitness after the game on Saturday.
"It will obviously be very different in front of your own crowd at your own stadium and there is the adrenaline of a Premier League football game. The tempo will be different."
Arteta's return to fitness will be a boost to manager David Moyes, who opted not to play Louis Saha, Leighton Baines, Tim Cahill and Phil Jagielka in the match in Ireland.