Hull City boss Phil Brown says midfielder Jimmy Bullard is ahead of schedule as he recovers from knee surgery.
Allowing for eight months of rehabilitation, early estimations pointed to the 30-year-old targeting a comeback in October.
While there remains no chance of Bullard featuring in City's season opener on August 15, Brown is happy with the progress of his high-profile absentee.
And as part of the Tigers squad due to jet off for high-altitude training in the Italian Alps on July 8, Bullard is making pleasing progress.
Brown told the Hull Daily Mail: "From what I've seen, he's definitely ahead of schedule.
"Jimmy will be in Bormio with his brace off doing some active work outside.
"I wouldn't like to put a timescale on the injury, that's not fair on him, but everything is going well. I would expect he'll be out on the pitches in Bormio in some capacity and that's a boost in itself."