Manchester City attacking midfielder Kevin de Bruyne is targeting a return to full training before the end of the month.
The Belgian international suffered knee and ankle ligament damage during the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final success over Everton at the end of January.
The former Wolfsburg player was forced to watch from the sidelines as his team-mates secured victory in the same competition in Sunday’s final against Liverpool, while he has also missed important matches in the Premier League and Champions League during his injury lay-off.
The 24-year-old has now confirmed he is nearing a return to first-team action and hopes to be back by the end of March.
De Bruyne said: “I hope to be back training after the international break at the end of March. Everything’s going according to plan. I’ve already been working cautiously for four weeks now.”
De Bruyne admits it is has been tough to watch over recent weeks but he is now looking forward to playing a prominent role for the club during the final few months of the season.
He added: “It was difficult. I hate sitting in the stands. I’d rather watch a match at home, because once you’re in a stadium, you always want to be on the pitch.”
City are next in action when they face Liverpool in the Premier League at Anfield on Wednesday in what is a repeat of Sunday’s League Cup final.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side are 2.75 to secure all three points, the Reds are 2.50 and the draw is 3.20.