Newcastle striker Michael Owen says he is confident he will play this season.
Owen has made only 11 appearances for Newcastle
The 26-year-old is recovering from knee surgery after he ruptured a cruciate ligament at the World Cup in June.
"I'm confident I'll play this season," he told BBC Five Live's Sportsweek. "It would be great if I could go into the summer knowing everything's fine.
"The turn of the year will be the important time when I have a scan, but I'm sure I'm going to come back as strong as ever."
He added: "As long as the scan shows that everything has knitted together nicely, we can press on and hopefully I can start jogging early February."
Having joined Newcastle in August 2005, Owen played only 10 games for his new club before breaking a bone in his foot.
I'd like to think I'm just past the middle of my career
He returned to play in the Magpies' final game of the season before heading to the World Cup with England.
"The injury has been difficult because my one passion, apart from my family, has been taken away from me," said Owen.
"It's been a long slog and there's still quite a lot of work to be done, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I'm looking forward to playing again.
"I'll be 27 on 14 December so I'd like to think I'm just past the middle of my career and hopefully I have many more happy years on the football pitch in front of me.
"This is a clean slate and I hope I can get that speed back that I had when I was 18."
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