Rotherham United boss Paul Warne hopes Jamie Proctor will be close to full fitness when the new campaign gets underway.
The striker’s season was over by the end of August last term when he ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament against Charlton just six games into his Millers’ career.
Proctor required surgery to repair the damage and watched on from the sidelines for the remainder of the season as his teammates secured an immediate return to the Championship.
However, the 26-year-old was a big figure in the dressing room and Warne had him lead the team out at Wembley for the play-off final.
Proctor returned to pre-season training with the rest of the squad for light duties last week and he is currently on the pre-season tour in Austria, with a view at playing in one of the friendlies towards the end of the month.
Warne revealed: “Hopefully by the time the season starts he won’t be more than 10 per cent behind the rest of the squad.
“Jamie had a little blip around April time where he had a little trim on his cartilage.
“You don’t get many years as a professional footballer, maybe 15 if you’re lucky, and he’s missed one through injury, which is horrible for him.
“He trained with the lads last week and it was a contact thing. He was the one the lads couldn’t tackle and he couldn’t tackle anyone, which as a centre forward is a joy because no-one’s going to take the ball off you.
“I’m hoping he’ll play a part in the Cardiff game towards the back end of our pre-season schedule and I’m looking to sneak another game in where he can have his first competitive 45 minutes.”
Meanwhile, the Millers play their third pre-season friendly match on Saturday against SV Wiener Neustadt at 4pm UK time.
Warne’s team beat Parkgate 3-1 in their opening pre-season fixture last Saturday and then drew 0-0 with SKU Amstetten at their Austrian training base at the Lindabrunn Sportschule on Tuesday this week.
The match will present another opportunity for Warne to rotate his squad before they fly home back to the UK on Sunday.
On their return the Millers will field two different sides for Tuesday night (July 17) away fixtures against Sheffield and Stocksbridge Park Steels, both 7pm kick-offs.
Cardiff City at home on Wednesday, July 25 (7.45pm) awaits after those fixtures, followed by a final pre-season friendly against Mansfield Town on Saturday, July 28 (3pm).