Rio Ferdinand has admitted it could be another five games before he gets back to his peak.
The Manchester United defender has finally recovered from the knee injury that wrecked his World Cup, turning in a typically stylish performance in Tuesday's disappointing goalless draw with Rangers.
Ferdinand is expected to keep his place for Sunday's high-octane north-west derby clash against Liverpool, when he should get the chance to resume his central defensive partnership with Nemanja Vidic and find out whether Sir Alex Ferguson views him as the successor to Gary Neville as captain.
But while the 31-year-old is hoping to speed up the acclimatisation process, he is wary of how long it will take to find top form again.
"I don't know how long it will take me to get back to my peak," he said. "I have never been out and doing nothing for this length of time.
"From what I gather it is normally up to six games before players see the best of themselves. Fingers crossed I can do it in two."