Aymeric Laporte is hoping to make his long-awaited return to the Manchester City side early in 2020, with the French centre-half proving to be a big miss for the reigning Premier League champions.
Pep Guardiola saw a key figure ruled out of his plans back in August.
A knee problem has kept Laporte out of 10 games for the Blues, with three defeats and a draw suffered in that time.
City find themselves 11 points off the title pace as a result, with Liverpool pulling clear of the chasing pack.
Guardiola will be desperate to get Laporte back as soon as possible, having had to get creative with his team selections at times, and the 25-year-old says he approaching the end of a long road to recovery.
He told The National: “[It] is going very well.
“Still I need time but I hope as soon as possible I can come back and play with my teammates. I can’t say when exactly but more or less one month-and-a-half to two months.
“I feel my importance to this team. Pep has given me all his confidence and I’m very happy for that.
“I believe in the team, I hope we can do many, many good things and this year win many trophies, just like last year.”
Despite seeing City endure uncharacteristic struggles in his absence, Laporte believes anything is still possible in 2019-20.
He is refusing to concede defeat in a domestic title tussle, while the Blues have also made positive progress in the Champions League and Carabao Cup.
That means there will be plenty to fight for once Laporte comes back into contention.
He added: “Yes, of course [City can win the title].
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“Last year was quite similar when [Liverpool] had a similar lead but we still have time this year to recover, to catch them and to again try to win the Premier League, so we hope we can do that.
“We need to make sure we work a lot and don’t lose any more games.”
City were held to a 2-2 draw away at Newcastle in their latest outing and will return to action on Tuesday when making the short trip to Burnley, before then playing host to derby rivals Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.