Manchester United defender Gary Neville has admitted he may have to wait until next season before making his return to first-team action.
The 33-year-old, who has not played a first-team game for more than 12 months, stepped up his comeback with an appearance for the reserves last week, but knows he will not be rushed back by Sir Alex Ferguson.
"I've played three times for the reserves since the turn of the year and this is the longest run I've been on in terms of training and playing games," Neville told Manchester United Radio.
"But it's going to take time for me to get back to full match sharpness after being out for so long.
"I'm probably a little bit away from first-team sharpness but the only way I'll get that is by continuing to train with the first team.
"Hopefully I'll get a game somewhere but that could prove difficult with the significance of the matches we have over the next few weeks. I just have to hope and pray that I get my chance at some point.
"Usually when you're coming back from injury there's an opportunity to throw you back into the side - maybe in one of the cup competitions - but every game's so important now."