West Ham United midfielder Kieron Dyer hopes to end his latest injury nightmare later this month.
The 29-year-old former Newcastle United and Ipswich Town star has been sidelined for more than 15 months since breaking his leg in a Carling Cup game against Bristol Rovers - only his third appearance for the Hammers.
"Ideally I'll have three or four preparation games and then be ready, perhaps for the Christmas period," Dyer told the Evening Standard.
"It will be great to get that first game under my belt but I'm not going to say I'm going to be thrown straight back into the first team.
"Every day I feel sharper and I do believe now I need to make up for lost time.
"My 30th birthday is coming up later this month and some players start to look toward the end of their careers when they reach that milestone. With the amount of football I've missed though, I feel I have a good five years still left in me.
"Gianfranco Zola has been good to me. On his first day he called me into his office and said he remembered playing against me."