Stuart Holden insists he is winning the race to be fit after returning to training from a three-month stint in America.
The USA midfielder is making steady progress after he suffered a serious setback on his last comeback from knee surgery.
He first injured his knee against Manchester United last March but broke down in September when routine surgery after his return against Villa showed cartilage damage.
And now Holden is back from his Delaware clinic and is being helped through the final stages of his recovery by some much missed mickey-taking.
"It is nice to be back in all the banter and it has put a smile on my face," Holden told the club's official website. "I have been able to draw more enthusiasm to get through this last part of my rehab.
"I have been working five days a week doing two sessions a day which have lasted for three hours.
"My trainer in America, James Hashimoto, had done a good job in mixing things up to keep it interesting.
"He was the head trainer for the US national team for quite a few World Cups and now he has got his own clinic in Delaware where he specialises in rehab.
"I am really happy with the way it has all panned out. Now I am really excited to get back to the club and push on with the next step of my work with the club's medical staff.
"A lot of people have asked when I will be back playing and I do not have a definitive answer. I am not worried about that because my focus is all about making sure I am fully fit once I do get back on the pitch."