Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck hopes to be back in action in January after missing the whole of the season so far through injury.
The former Manchester United forward had knee surgery in early September in order to rectify a persistent problem picked up at the back end of the previous campaign.
Welbeck admitted it has been tough to watch the Gunners from the sidelines this term but has set his sights on a comeback just after the Christmas period.
“It’s difficult to put an exact date on it, around the New Year,” he told The National when asked about his return date. “After I had the operation I was in a leg brace for about four weeks, which wasn’t easy. I had to do a lot of machine work, about six hours a day.
“It’s good to finally be out of the brace now and walking. It feels like I’m getting that little bit closer to getting back out on the pitch.
“It’s frustrating being on the sidelines and watching on – you feel kind of helpless. But you just have to keep motivated. The appetite’s there, you just want to get back out on the pitch and show what you can do.
“Obviously there’s some days when you just want to be back out there playing, but it’s a process and something that I’ve learnt to deal with in time. But it’s hard.”
Welbeck hopes to help Arsenal push for a first Premier League title since 2004 when he returns to action as he believes the top flight’s competitive nature gives a number of sides a chance of success this season.
“In the Premier League there’s teams in the lower half of the table beating teams in the top half and that just shows you the level of competition throughout the whole league,” added the England striker.
“There’s not one game where you can take your foot off the gas and we’ve got to be prepared mentally, physically and tactically for every single match we go into to.
“It’s the same for every single team. It doesn’t give one side a better opportunity to win the league. Every three points is going to be vital. And if you get those wins and keep racking them up that’s going to be the most important thing come May.”