Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham has admitted his relief at his ahead-of-schedule return from a back injury.
An operation at the end of last season was expected to keep the 30-year-old on the physio's table for three months.
But Higginbotham has already declared himself fit and he should be ready to return to the Potters first XI for the start of new Premier League campaign.
He told Why Delilah: "Everything is fine now apart from a little bit of stiffness, but that's just 'pre-season pain' from all the running I've been doing.
"It's a relief to be sorted. When I had the operation, they told me I could be out for three months, so I'm the right side of that.
"If you miss pre-season then you are always playing catch up and sometimes you don't make that up until towards the end of the season."
Higginbotham is adamant that Stoke will not allow for complacency after surprising the critics last term by avoiding relegation in their debut Premier League outing.
He said: "We are just as hungry for it as we were last year and no-one is going to be taking their foot off the gas.
"If people want to write is off again then that's fine.
"There might actually be a little more expectation on us this time, but as a group we are a year stronger and wiser."