Leon Best is determined to return to action for Newcastle United before the end of the season to prove his fitness for the Republic of Ireland's Euro 2012 squad.
The striker has been sidelined since early February due to a knee injury and there were suggestions that Best would miss the remainder of the campaign.
However, the 25-year-old is due to take the next step in his rehabilitation later this month and hopes to soon be back on the pitch for Newcastle to boost the club's push for Europa League qualification.
Best also has extra motivation to demonstrate he is fit again as he also wants to force his way into Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland plans for the European Championship.
"I'm going to be back running hopefully in the next week, ten days," Best told The Journal.
"I'm doing leg-strengthening exercises now and it feels good so I've got confidence I'll be back before the end of the season to play games. I want to be part of what we're doing here.
"To get fit with the possibility of being in the Euros, that's in the back of my mind, now I need to get fit and play a couple of Newcastle games to show that I'm fit enough to go. I'm confident I can get some games under my belt before the summer.
"I feel like when I've played this season I've showed what I'm capable of and that I can do just as well as everyone else.
"Before I moved to this club I did have opportunities to go to other places, but I thought if I came here and did well I'd get the respect I want. It's a massive club and I have done well when I've come in."