John O'Shea is targeting a return to action within weeks to bolster Manchester United's campaigns in the Premier League and UEFA Champions League.
The utility player believes he could be back in action in March, which would be a massive bonus for the league leaders given Sir Alex Ferguson once thought the 28-year-old may miss the rest of the season.
The United boss made the prediction after the Republic of Ireland international suffered complications in his recovery following an injury in November's heartbreaking World Cup play-off exit to France in Paris.
Ferguson has since reigned back that statement, instead expressing hope that O'Shea - who was originally diagnosed with a dead leg - might play some part before next term.
But O'Shea insists his recovery mission is nowhere near so bleak and he is confident it will not be long before he is once again battling to help United land some silverware.
He told the Irish Examiner: "The boss said that I could be out for the rest of this season, but 'could' and 'would' are two very different words.
"To be honest, I am much more hopeful about my injury situation.
"I am improving at a very steady pace and I am very hopeful of being back in the action sometime in March."