Preston North End defender Jack King is hopeful of avoiding further surgery on his fractured foot.
The 28-year-old suffered a stress fracture of his right foot just before the start of the season and had an operation to pin the bone.
In his fourth game back, the fracture re-opened but careful management of the injury has allowed him to play another 16 matches.
While King initially had to limit his training time after suffering the second break, he is now training full-time and looking forward to playing an active part in North End’s push for promotion.
It was his injured foot which he scored with against Bristol City last week.
“Around Christmas time when I broke my foot again, I was only able to train once a week, twice at a push,” King told the Evening Post.
“We had a lot of Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday games around then which made things difficult.
“But between the manager, physio and myself we have managed the injury and steadily I have increased my workload.
“I’m back to training every day and it is feeling fine – I still need to take the odd pain killer here and there but it is not causing me many problems.
“The manager and physio have been superb with me. If I feel a niggle in the foot, they give me a day’s rest.
“I’m not having any jabs in the foot to get me through games – that is something I will always be reluctant to do.
“With it being my kicking foot, I don’t want to have a numb feeling in the foot.
“I’m not sure if I will need an operation in the summer. I hope it won’t come to that because it will be a long time out, so that would be a last resort.
“Hopefully it can settle down on its own and that after a rest in the summer, I can come back fit and raring to go in pre-season.
“The operation I had last summer worked fine and the bone healed.
“But against Bristol City at our place I went up for a header and landed awkwardly on the outside of my foot and it fractured again which was just unlucky.
“I have a pin in the bone from the operation which is keeping it stable, so as long as I can play without much pain, it won’t be a problem.”
King has started Preston’s last three games in the centre of defence and hopes to make that four against Carlisle at Deepdale on Saturday.
When North End won the reverse fixture at Brunton Park on Boxing Day, the utility man had a much different role.
Said King: “The Carlisle game was my first one back after the second fracture.
“I played up front that day, back to the role I had quite a bit last season.
“It wasn’t a great display from us but we got the result which was required.
“This time we will be looking for a better performance and to win the game.
“I’m enjoying playing in the defence, whether that’s in a back four or a back three.
“The gaffer has put me in there for a reason, I like to get on the ball and get us playing from the back. This role gives me a bit of time on the ball.”