Aston Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton hopes to make his long-awaited comeback from injury against Leicester City in October.
Heaton has been out of action since New Year’s Day, when he ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament in a 2-1 win at Burnley.
The 34 year-old had, up to that point, played all-but-one of Villa’s Premier League games.
An £8 million signing from Burnley last summer, Heaton was drafted in to become the club’s number one and was enjoying a fine season until he picked up the injury.
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Now he is targeting the first game back after the October international break, which happens to be away to City on October 17.
Villa currently have Heaton’s deputy, Jed Steer and Orjan Nyland on their books after Pepe Reina’s return to loan side AC Milan and the departure of Matija Sarkic to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
“The start of the season has unfortunately come too soon,” Heaton said.
“It has landed a little bit fortunate in terms of the fixtures. We are not playing the first week and only have three fixtures before the international break.
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“At the moment I have my eyes set on that. Whether the medics agree I am not so sure. But I think that certainly gives me enough time, eight-and-a-half weeks from now. That is what I have my sights on.”
Heaton came through the ranks at Manchester United but left without making a first-team appearance.
Villa will likely begin the season with one of Nyland and Steer in goal.