Martin Laursen is still dogged by the knee problems that decimated his 2004-05 season with Aston Villa but the Denmark international defender says he is heading in the right direction.
Laursen missed six months of the campaign after damaging ligaments during the 3-0 defeat away to Charlton Athletic. His return to action in March was met with approval but the knee still gave him problems.
There is, he says, still pain but the injury is healing - and he will be 100 per cent fit for the opening match of the Premiership season next month.
"My knee feels good," Laursen said. "I am definitely feeling very positive about things. I am training flat out. I am in the gym once a day undergoing a full weights programme indoors and I am also running once a day.
"The knee is still sore sometimes and I am not yet ready to train twice a day outside with the rest of the squad. That would be asking a little too much at this moment in time but I am very happy with how things are going and will soon be ready to step things up.
" The fitness side of things has always meant so much to me. That's why I have always worked so hard all through my career, not only in England but in Italy and Denmark beforehand.
"When I feel fit, then I know I can go out and show my real worth. When I am not fit, then I struggle - and that's why last season was so frustrating.
"Hopefully, I can show people what I am really about this season. I certainly aim to play more than I did last year.
"I am really looking forward to this season. There is a good atmosphere around the dressing room and a belief that we can move forwards."