Wayne Bridge is eyeing Manchester City's home encounter with Blackburn on September 11 to make his eagerly-awaited seasonal bow.
Bridge has been out of action since pre-season, when he suffered a broken foot. The slog towards recovery has been a painful one for the former England defender, who did not want to push himself too hard for fear of causing further problems.
Bridge is still not entirely pain free. However, the 30-year-old is starting to feel more confident now about applying some pressure. And, if all goes well, he could be in contention for the visit of Sam Allardyce's men to Eastlands immediately after the current international break.
'It has been frustrating because it is one of those where you have to wait in case the fracture gets worse,' Bridge told the club's official website. 'But the injury has seemed a lot better over the past few days and I should be back in training either some time this week or next.
'I have been working hard doing bike work, rowing and a bit of boxing, so I feel fit.
'Hopefully I can slot back in and not find training too hard when I get back then it will be fingers crossed for Blackburn.'
Bridge has been wearing shoes two sizes too big in order to ensure he did not put any extra pressure on the injury, although for a professional athlete, sedentary exercise has not been easy to accept.
'I just want to get back on my feet,' he said. 'I have been sitting in an oxygen tank, sitting on a rower, sitting on a bike. It's getting a bit annoying - I feel like I've been kicked up the backside sometimes.'
Down: City's other main left back Aleksandar Kolarov (centre) is injured
Although Aleksander Kolarov is also out of action at present after suffering ankle ligament damage in the opening-day draw at Tottenham, Bridge will still face competition from a former international team-mate in Joleon Lescott when he is battling for a place in Roberto Mancini's starting line-up.
It is part of a strength in depth that is unmatched in the Premier League. Despite claims to the contrary, Roque Santa Cruz is virtually certain to be in Mancini's 25-man Premier League squad when it is confirmed later today, joining up with Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor and Jo in a fearsome array of firepower.
Bridge recognises everyone at Eastlands faces a severe test of their abilities just to get a game.
But he also understands that is the way it has to be if City are to gatecrash the elite clubs who have tended to dominate the major trophies over the past few years.
'We have an even stronger squad now,' he said. 'It's a great squad. You need a squad this size if you're going to compete for everything you go for.'
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