Jimmy Bullard believes he will fulfil Fulham manager Lawrie Sanchez’s prediction of being back in action by October.
But the midfielder, who dislocated a kneecap and suffered extensive cruciate ligament damage a year ago, admits he will not be back to full fitness until Christmas.
Bullard, 29, was injured against Newcastle last September after scoring two goals in four games following a £2.5million move from Wigan. He is finally back in training with the first-team but is still having to avoid contact work.
He said: “October still looks about right for me to be playing again but I will need a of training and a lot of reserve games to build up match-fitness for the first team.
“Match-fitness is the key. The knee is fine now and everything since I started rehab has been geared to when I could return from what was a career-threatening injury.
“But although you may think you are fit, it is not until you see the other lads going into tackles and the pace they play at that you realise it is going to take time. By Christmas, I think I ought to be fully ready.”