Gareth Barry is racing to be fit for the start of the new season.
The midfielder is playing catch up in terms of fitness after travelling to Munich for an abdominal operation.
“I had an operation two weeks ago. It’s just an on-going problem really from last season that didn’t seem to heal up,” explained Barry who is now back at Carrington for rehab.
“I felt it again when I went away with England and so I had some time off, but it still didn’t clear up, so the next step was the operation.
“The problem was in the stomach, so after seeing a specialist I had a hernia operation. The main aim of it was to repair the muscles inside and make them stronger.”
Despite the setback, the 31-year-old is sure that he is now on the road to recovery.
“Early signs are really good, the scars have healed really well, but we’ll see how I feel when I start playing again. Fingers crossed it will all have healed up,” he declared.
“I think the worst of it’s over now, there will be a two week healing process and I’ve started my rehab to try and get fit and catch up with the rest of the lads.
“I don’t really want to put a timescale on it, but hopefully I’ll be ready for the main games starting.”
Barry is no stranger to hard work at the dawn of a new season and admits it is frustrating to be a step behind.
“This is my 15th or 16th pre-season and it’s the first one I’ve really missed, so I’ve been lucky up until now, but it is frustrating because pre-season is really important in terms of fitness for later on and I’m missing out on a big chunk of it,” he said.
“But, I’m working hard now to try and catch up, so the hard work will probably start from now on.”
Despite the unwelcome injury Barry’s enthusiasm for the coming season has not diminished.
“I’m looking forward to the new season. Obviously it was a fantastic end last season and now there will be more pressure on the team,” he concluded.
“But to head into the new season as champions gives you a great deal of confidence and myself and the lads are looking forward to trying to regain the title.
“At the minute my mind is just set on being fit and being out there 100 per cent and try and feature in as many games as possible this season.
“The immediate aim is to try and feel good when I start training with the lads, so I’ll take it one step at a time.”