Manchester United skipper Nemanja Vidic has confirmed his recovery from injury is going well and he should be fit to make his comeback at the start of next season.
Vidic ruptured his cruciate ligament during December's UEFA Champions League game against Basel and was quickly ruled out for the remainder of the 2011/12 campaign.
Sir Alex Ferguson recently dismissed the idea that Vidic could return sooner to help with United's title run-in, and the Serbian is staying focused on his July target.
"My recovery is going well," he told United's official website.
"Obviously the projection was I would be ready for the next season. I am on schedule and will hopefully start training again in July."
Vidic has been confined to gym work during the early weeks of his rehabilitation, although that will be stepped up as the months go on.
In the meantime, the 30-year-old has been reduced to a watching brief as United challenge for a record 20th league crown.
Manchester City are four points adrift at the top of the table ahead of their game in hand against Chelsea on Wednesday night, but Vidic is confident of holding on for glory.
"I've had the belief from the beginning and if you look at the schedule of the games we have left to play I would like to say we are the favourites," he said.
"We still have to win the nine games and need to be focused.
"We believed from the beginning and have the confidence but we have nine Champions League final games now I would say.
"It's all in our hands. We have to focus and give our best.
"All the players are ready to perform which is a good sign and a positive thing for the nine games ahead."