Samir Nasri hopes to be back in action for Manchester City before the end of March as he continues his recovery from a serious hamstring injury.
The midfielder has not featured since the 5-1 win over AFC Bournemouth in mid-October and a further setback in training meant he required surgery in November.
Nasri's timescale for a return was initially set at four to six months and the France international is optimistic he will be back in time to aid City's Premier League title bid.
"The original estimate by the doctors was that I'd be out for between four to six months and the surgeon told me the same," he told the official City website.
"But I've already done two months and I'm targeting the international beak in March to be back properly with the squad.
"I broke my fibula during my second year at Arsenal and was out for nearly six months, but with this injury I had to have an operation that resulted in nearly 100 stitches in my thigh - my surgeon told me this was a rare injury as the muscle had detached from the bone and the tendon was also 90 per cent detached and had to be stitched back together so it was something that doesn't happen very often.
"I'm a little advanced on my schedule. Everything goes a little slow at this stage but I've started to do the rehab in the gym, doing two of three hours' work on the bikes trying to build the muscle back up and this week I should start to run again which is pretty good news.
"It also means I'll be sort of back training with the squad and will see my team-mates every day.
"We have a schedule and at the moment we are ahead. We have a fantastic medical team here and though you always want to set targets to be back as a soon as possible.
I want to return and be fully fit without any problems because this was kind of a big injury.
"The physios are having to be careful about how I recover, but I want to work hard and be back with the squad before the end of the season and I want to be back training normally with the team towards the end of March."