West Ham midfielder Jack Collison is confident he will be playing again before the end of this season.
The 20-year-old, who dislocated a knee at Wigan on March 4, was expected to be ruled out for the rest of the campaign. But he is now due to return to full training at Chadwell Heath on Wednesday.
"I am aiming for one or two more first-team games now before the end of the season," said Collison. "I am ready for full training now with the rest of the boys and want to help us qualify for Europe."
And that could also be a major boost for Wales as they prepare for two end-of-season internationals - one a home friendly with Estonia at the end of next month, and more importantly a vital World Cup qualifier in Azerbaijan in June.
Collison has been one of six first-team stars who have been denied to boss Gianfranco Zola over the past weeks due to injuries, so his return to training this week could prove a big boost to the Hammers in their quest to qualify for the Europa League next season.
Collison is aiming to play in the final two games of the season at Everton on May 16 and at home to Middlesbrough on May 24, games which would put him back in contention for international duty.
Collison has been a major success for West Ham this term with three goals in 20 appearances. And he also won three full Wales caps and hugely impressed national boss John Toshack, before being struck down by injury.
"I have been working really hard with the medical team at West Ham, there have been some long hours at the swimming pool making the knee stronger again." he added. "Last week I was doing lots of running and I want to start full training again on Wednesday.
"When the injury happened, my knee popped out of place and people felt I would not play again this season.
"But luckily it has proved not to be as serious in the end, so now I have got to concentrate on getting back to full fitness and to make one last push at the end of the season."
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