Injury-plagued Manchester City midfielder Michael Johnson expects to be back for the start of pre-season training this summer.
Big things were expected of Johnson when he broke into the City first team under Stuart Pearce in 2006, but the 22-year-old's progress has been badly affected by injury, starting with an abdominal problem that kept him on the sidelines for most of last season.
Johnson told www.mcfc.co.uk: "If everything goes to plan I am looking at the start of next season to be hopefully joining in with training sessions again."
Without rediscovering top form, Johnson did at least force his way back into the first-team picture this term, only to suffer a major knee injury in training just before Christmas that ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign.
Johnson could be forgiven for allowing his fitness worries to get him down.
Instead, the former England Under-21 star is buoyant again after receiving the green light to step up his recovery.
And he is eager to be available again when City begin preparations for a campaign that could yet include Champions League combat for the first time when Roberto Mancini's men return to training after their summer break.
"No player wants to have to go through such a long recovery and it has just been bad luck that I have had two in a row early in my career," Johnson added.
"Having recovered from a serious injury before means that this time I am a little more experienced and can deal with the frustrations much better.
"It is just a matter of time, patience and hard work now."
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