Last Updated: Wed, 29 Feb 2012 13:30
Newcastle's Steven Taylor is already looking forward to pre-season training after being forced to write off the current campaign.
The 26-year-old ruptured his Achilles during the 3-0 home defeat by Chelsea on December 3 and spent the following couple of months wearing a protective boot. However, that has now been removed and he is gradually stepping up his rehabilitation.
Taylor will be a frustrated by-stander for Sunday's derby clash with Sunderland and indeed, is not expected to play again this season, but he has his sights set on the summer. He told the Journal: "The good thing for me is I've got a manager and a coaching staff who always get me into the dressing room and amongst the lads.
"I still feel part of it, which is a massive thing for me. When you get injured, you can get forgotten about, but fair play to the rest of the lads, they have been spot-on and worked with me every single day.
"I'm out of the boot now, back walking and back in the gym and back to hard work. It's going to be a long, hard recovery. I know some people say it's the worst injury you can get as a footballer, but I'm taking it in my stride.
"I'm relishing the chance to come back and I can't wait to come back fitter, stronger and better than I was before. I'm hoping to be involved in the start of the next pre-season."
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