Norwich defender Timm Klose hopes to be back from a serious knee injury by the end of the season and help in the battle for Premier League survival.
The Switzerland international missed the start of the season because of hip trouble, and then suffered what turned out to be a long-term issue on his first appearance in the Carabao Cup tie at Crawley.
The 31-year-old joined Norwich from Wolfsburg in January 2016 and was a key member of Daniel Farke’s squad which won the Sky Bet Championship to secure promotion back to the top flight.
Klose admits it has been “horrible” having to watch on from the sidelines as Norwich’s early promise faded – with six defeats since beating Manchester City sending them bottom of the table.
The defender, though, is cautiously optimistic his recovery will go to plan so he can help provide some welcome experience to the currently over-run Canaries’ backline towards the latter stages of the campaign.
“I am feeling well at the moment. I am within the timeline and have reached all the goals so far,” Klose said on the Norwich website.
“The next stage is to get rid of the brace and get the muscle mass back and then to start running. I am very positive about everything.
“I don’t want to put a date on when I will be back because that puts pressure on me, and supporters would stress out if I am not fit when I said I would be.
“Let’s see how it develops and hopefully I can play some games this season.”
Norwich lost 2-0 at home to previously-winless Watford before the international break and so replaced them at the foot of the table.
“It hasn’t been as positive or as successful as last year, but we all knew that this was going to happen,” Klose said.
“The frustrating thing is that I always want to help, give advice to other players and be there if they’re struggling. It’s hard to watch the games when you see situations that make you frustrated.
“Everyone in the stadium thinks like a manager and they will say, ‘it should have been like this’ or ‘it should have been like that’ – but I say ‘hold on a second. Imagine if you were on the pitch, I can tell you the situation would have been different’. Then they can understand.
“It is hard, but we will get out of it.”
Klose added: “I have full trust in my team-mates that they will keep us there and I can do it next year.”