Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney hopes to return to action later this month.
The 26-year-old England international suffered an horrendous gash to his leg in a tackle after coming on as a substitute in a game against Fulham a fortnight ago. He was ruled out of action for around a month and, although there were reports suggesting he could be out longer, he believes his recovery is on track.
Rooney told the Manchester Evening News: "The injury is going well. It could have been a lot worse than what it was. It is up to the doctor. When he declares me fit I will be ready. It feels good at the minute. The timescale put on it was four weeks. If that is the time they feel I need for the wound to heal properly then that is what I will do."
He added: "What I don't want to happen is to come back too early when it is not quite healed and it opens up again first game. That would just set me back again another four weeks. Overall, I think at the most I will miss four games."
A four-game lay-off might mean he is available for the Capital One Cup tie against Newcastle on September 26, or perhaps the Barclays Premier League visit of Tottenham three days later.
Remarkably, Rooney says his gruesome-looking injury - caused after being caught by Hugo Rodallega's boot - was not painful at the time.
He said: "It didn't hurt me at all. I got up ready to play on. I was holding my leg up to the referee to say I needed a physio or doctor on.
"I just didn't want to go off on the stretcher. I said to the doctor I can walk off. But he told me it was too dangerous, so he told me to get on it!
"My lad was in the crowd and I didn't really want him seeing me carried off on a stretcher."
When Rooney does return to action he will be able to start building a partnership with headline summer signing Robin van Persie. He said: "I am looking forward to getting back into the team and trying to forge an understanding with him."