Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshire has targeted a return to action in the New Year as he continues his recovery from injury.
The 19-year-old England international has not featured all season after he suffered an ankle injury in England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland in June.
Initial reports suggested the Arsenal midfielder would be ready for the start of the season but a setback during the Emirates Cup tournament at the end of July revealed a stress fracture in his right ankle.
It was originally feared that Wilshire would be side-lined until February but the 19-year-old said he now expects to feature "some time in January".
"It's coming along well, I'm working hard in the gym every day and feel I'm in good hands at Arsenal," the Gunners' star told Sky Sports.
"We've had a few injured at Arsenal in recent years, like Aaron Ramsey but they are helping me through it.
"I can't put a specific date on it, but some time in January I'm hoping for if all goes well.
Questioned about Arsenal's title chances, Wilshire said: "Why not? Manchester City are strong favourites but if we carry on our run we'll keep plugging away.
"Hopefully towards the end of the season they will slip up and we will keep going."
Meanwhile, the Arsenal midfielder could find himself in trouble with UEFA after suggesting he placed a bet on Arsenal team-mate Emmanuel Frimpong to score against Olympiakos in their Champions League match.
Although the England midfielder is side-lined with an ankle injury and therefore missed Tuesday night's game, UEFA regulations specify that all players are prohibited from betting on games involving their own sides - regardless of whether they play or not.
Wilshire, 19, said Frimpong could be "worth a cheeky £10" to open the scoring for Arsenal, adding: "Frimmy nearly won me some money there" when the Ghanaian midfielder went close with the score at 0-0.
Olympiakos' Rafik Djebbour eventually netted the first goal as the Greek side beat Arsenal 3-1 but UEFA have confirmed they are looking into the matter.
"All persons bound by UEFA's rules must refrain from any behaviour that could damage the integrity of matches and competitions," a UEFA spokesman said.
"A breach of these principles is committed by anyone who participates directly or indirectly in betting or who has a financial interest in such activities."
The Arsenal midfielder has since deleted all references to betting off his Twitter account and insists he had only been joking.
"I didn't actually bet on the game. I know we're not allowed to! I was only messing #justtobeclear," he wrote.