Experienced midfielder David Prutton is aiming to make a first-team return by the start of March as he strives to secure his long-term future at Sheffield Wednesday.
The 32-year-old has not featured since the Owls’ 4-1 thrashing at Birmingham City on September due to a troublesome ankle problem.
It was just over six weeks ago that Prutton underwent surgery and there have been times where Wednesday have missed his battling qualities in the middle of the park.
With his contract set to run out in the summer, the Hull-born player is determined to regain full fitness and prove his credentials.
“I went to see the specialist in London last week and he seemed fairly happy with it [his injury] so it is going to be another six weeks before I come back,” he told The Star. “It would be nice if I got back in at the beginning of March.
“The season finishes in May so I want to be in a position, given my contract situation, where I can remind people what I can do, be it here or where ever the future takes me.
“I would like to get half a dozen games in between now and the end of the season, maybe more. I want to stick around longer here because I have loved every single minute of it since I joined the club.
“I had that period where I wasn’t with the club but then the six or seven months of last season were some of the best I have played and have given me some fantastic memories. I want to be part of things but I am realistic.
“I know there are many different levels you have got to work through before that comes to fruition. Above all, I need to get fit to show people what I can do.”
Saturday’s 1-1 draw at high-flying Burnley extended Wednesday’s unbeaten run under caretaker boss Stuart Gray to seven matches.
Prutton, farmed out on loan to Scunthorpe United last season, is happy the team are picking up results in his absence but is frustrated he can’t help their cause.
“A younger version of myself would have got pretty frustrated about not playing but you get to the point where you have to accept it,” he said. “It is frustrating but I am not sat in the stands sulking or with my bottom lip out because it is utterly pointless. It is a pleasure watching the team when they are scoring lots of goals like they have done against Leeds and Macclesfield.
“It is not so great when things aren’t going well but when it is entertaining, which doesn’t always go hand in hand with Championship football, because of the kind of nature of it, it is a pleasure to watch.”