James Hook is hoping that he will be ready for action by the time the Ospreys make the short trip across the Loughor Bridge to face the Scarlets on October 2nd.
The 25-year old has missed the start of the new season after undergoing shoulder surgery in June, but with his rehab going well he says is on target to achieve his goal of a playing return ahead of the Heineken Cup opener in Toulon in just under a month.
“It’s coming on really well, I’m lifting better in the gym and it feels a lot better” he said.
“It feels good. The next couple of weeks training should be pretty intense now, and hopefully I can show that I’m ready to play again. I’m working hard in the gym, and I’m looking forward to getting some rugby sessions in to really test my shoulder.
“I’ve got full movement there now. It’s a little bit stiff but that’s to be expected. I’ll keep working on it, receiving physio and hopefully I’ll be good to go before the end of the month.
“The help I’ve had has been great. The target I was set was the start of October and that’s definitely looking achievable now which is great. The real test will be the first contact session, to see how it hold up, but at the moment I’m on track.”
With the timing of his operation and his speedy recovery meaning that he is likely to miss just a handful of games at the start of the season, Hook believes that what amounts to an extended personal pre-season will stand him in good stead during a long season:
“It’s never easy to be on the injury list, sitting out match preparation and watching the games from the stands, but the way it has worked out it’s only been a handful of games I’ve missed and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now.
“I’ve effectively had an extended pre-season and I’ve enjoyed that if I’m honest, it’s been a change for me seeing as I didn’t go away with Wales and didn’t have to rush back for the start of the new season. It’s a long season and when the time comes around I’ll hopefully be in peak condition. It’s such a long season that the extra month off at the start of the season should really benefit me in the long run.
“Ideally I want to get a bit of game-time so that I can be in contention to play against Toulon but it’s important that I’m 100 per cent ready. There’s no point coming back a week or two early and risk putting myself out again. If I don’t get back for the end of the month it’s not the end of the world, it’s important for me to be fit first rather than just trying to get on for the sake of it.”