Dean Ashton is looking to take another positive step in his rehabilitation from ankle surgery.
The West Ham man has been out of action since September 2008 and went under the knife in February.
He has seen his domestic outings severely restricted as a result, while his international dreams have also taken a battering.
The 25-year-old is on the comeback trail, though, and has begun to undergo light exercises.
He hopes to be able to start jogging outside next month, with the aim to then be back in full training in time for pre-season.
"It's a light at the end of the tunnel point for me," Ashton said.
"If you think about it, running forms a large part of training and playing for a footballer and to get to this stage again now is a real step up for me.
"The ultimate aim is to get back running and feel completely comfortable doing this, so I do everything one step at a time. It is good to have this as part of my programme now, though, and I will continue to work hard to take it further.
"I want to come back when everything is right, not return prematurely and end up getting another injury, because all the hard work will be for nothing. If it means continuing to be patient and let things take as long as they need to, then that's what I will do."
While Ashton has been left kicking his heels on the sidelines, the Hammers have enjoyed a productive 2008/09 campaign.
They remain on course to secure a Europa League place for next season, while the likes of Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Carlton Cole have all forced themselves into England reckoning.
"I think we are doing very well," added Ashton.
"Considering we have had a few injuries of late, the lads who have come in have added to the team's good form and it's great to see the boys getting the results.
"I am also pleased to see the boys playing for England. Matty, Greeny and Coley have all been playing really well and deserve to be in the squad. Coley has been on top form and has done well and I am sure, when he gets it, he will take his chance again."