James Tomkins would view a return to action this season as "a bonus" as the West Ham defender recovers from shoulder surgery.
The centre-back has not featured for the London club for just over a month after dislocating a shoulder in the gym.
Tomkins, who suffered the same injury during his time in West Ham's academy, is encouraged by the progress he is making with his rehabilitation, but knows he may have to wait until next season to make his comeback
He told the club's official website: "I was in the gym doing some exercises like I normally do, but just went a bit too far with one of them and unfortunately I dislocated my shoulder.
"I'd have been frustrated if I had done it on the pitch, so to do it in the gym made it even more frustrating.
"I had the operation about two weeks ago and it has settled down. I'm progressing with my rehab and getting more movement and hopefully I can get back as soon as I can.
"I am pleased the surgery went well. I went to see a top surgeon who has done a lot of operations on other Premier League footballers and it went well for myself, so hopefully this time it will stay in place for good. It#s even stronger than it was before now and fingers crossed it all goes to plan.
"I never thought about it when I was going out to play and I became more and more confident with every game I played after it happened before. I was always confident after training and I know when I come back this time I will be the same.
"Hopefully it will not set me back and I will be able to play a couple of games before the end of the season, you never know. It depends on how well it goes. I'm preparing myself mentally that I won’t play again this season, so if I come back earlier then it's a bonus."