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 2 season with his return pencilled in for August 22.
Murphy said: “I’m 11 weeks into my rehab and 24 is minimum.
“I’m just slowly working towards that six month target.
“I 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 2.
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 their 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 for The Shrimps after another bright start faded away.
He said: “All it comes down to in this league is consistency. “There’s not much between all the teams. There’s big teams in there 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.
“Just as soon as you lose that you fall away.”
On Saturday, Murphy will have one eye on former club Accrington as they look to take a step closer to Wembley in the first leg of their play-off semi-final with
John Coleman’s side missed out on automatic promotion after a 0-0 draw with Stevenage on the final day.
Murphy said: “It happened to me last year (with Wycombe) and I know how gutting it is.
“They’ve just got to take the momentum they’ve had.
“There’s no negativity there. “They finished fourth in the league, their highest ever.
“If they can do it the play-off way I’d say that’s the best way apart from winning the league.”