Alan Smith insists he is ready for a first team recall just as soon as Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson requires his services.
The 25-year-old has made a remarkable recovery from the horrific ankle and leg injury he sustained seven months ago at Anfield, when United crashed out of the FA Cup to Liverpool.
It had been thought that Smith would need considerably longer before he would be ready for competitive action but after 246 minutes of reserve team football he is confident of making a return.
Of the opinion that he could feature against Tottenham on Saturday, Smith is eager to put his injury woe behind him - although he is willing to accept that it will be very much one-step at a time.
"To come on as a sub would be no problem," he told the Manchester Evening News.
"But I think 90 minutes of Premiership football would be very difficult at the moment. If you are playing at Old Trafford, you get that adrenaline rush and and that would see you through a sub appearance. But a full game is a different thing.
"There was no schedule put on the number of reserve matches I need before I am ready.
"I am fine as far as the injury is concerned. I still need more gym work, but I also need matches.
"But if the gaffer were to ask me if I would be ready for the bench against Spurs, I would say 'yes' without hesitation.
"If it is not this weekend then, over the next few weeks, I am hoping to get on the bench. We have the Champions League starting next week against Celtic, and with seven allowed on the bench, then there might be a chance."
Prior to injury and Smith had primarily been used as a midfielder but in the summer, following the signing of Michael Carrick, Ferguson announced that he intended to play the former Leeds man in his more natural position as a striker.
While accepting the call made by his taskmaster, Smith is convinced that he could have cut the cloth as a holding midfielder.
"It could have been a future permanent position for me and I was confident enough to take it on and do it," said Smith.
"Playing midfield wasn't a problem. I enjoyed it. But I knew the gaffer always wanted to buy players in the summer for that position.
"But I am glad to go back up front though because it is my natural position. I love playing with my back to the defender. That's my game and when I am at my best."