Morecambe captain Peter Murphy is targeting an August end to his injury nightmare.
The midfielder picked up two serious knee injuries in his first season with the Shrimps, the second a cruciate against former club Wycombe in January.
The 26-year-old, who made just eight appearances last season, looks set to miss the start of the next League Two season with his return pencilled in for August 22.
Murphy said: “I’m 12 weeks into my rehab and 24 is minimum.
“I’m just slowly working towards that six-month target. I’m hoping for a better year next year. I don’t think it can be any worse.
“I just want to get myself fit and strong and in the best shape possible to come back and help the team next year.”
Murphy, who also injured medial knee ligaments on the opening day against Hartlepool, says the Shrimps players are hurting after a wretched 2016 saw them finish 21st in League Two.
He said: “We’re all disappointed not to finish as high as we thought we could have done.
“We got to take 90 per cent of the responsibility.
“We feel it as much as the gaffer and we want to do well for him as much as for ourselves. Everyone in there is hurting because we want to be successful.
“There are positives to take, though, as much as we’ve felt down. We’ve just got to concentrate on next season.”
Come August, Murphy believes consistency will be key after another bright start faded away. He said: “There’s not much between all the teams.
“There are big teams like Oxford, Plymouth and Portsmouth but it is just consistency. At the start of the season we were consistent and we were there or thereabouts. As soon as you lose that you fall away.”