Striker Robbie Fowler has revealed the extent of his summer injury problems and with a recent return to training has the ideal game in mind to make his City return.
He said: "Through the summer we all had fitness programmes to follow but I kept suffering from cramps in my legs when I was doing my training.
"I came back a little bit early and got tested out but it was a bit of a puzzle. The physio couldn't find anything. My lower back started hurting to the point where I had a pain right across it and I had to go for a scan. It turns out that I had tear in one of the discs in my back and I needed injections."
The former England star added: "Part of the problem might have been simple wear and tear, but some mornings it was so painful, it took an age getting out of bed. Anyone who has suffered from a bad back knows how much agony it can cause. It was really uncomfortable.
"I haven't been able to do much - but I am on the right road now. Since I have had the injections I have upped the training and feel much better. The idea is to pick the work up another level this week with an eye to being back a couple of weeks after that. The derby match might be the one to aim for at Old Trafford."
But the 30-year-old hitman knows he'll have to prove himself in order to gain a senior start: "Obviously I do not expect to be treated any different than anyone else and I will need to play in the reserves before I can think of a first team start."