Oakley eyes return to action
By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Southampton's Matthew Oakley has revealed he is now close to making a first-team return.Southampton midfielder Matthew Oakley has revealed he is now close to making a first-team return after a year on the sidelines.
The competitive midfielder is finally eyeing a return to action, after spending a miserable 12 months recovering from a torn cruciate ligament.
However, the 27-year-old Saints favourite is now hoping to force his way into Paul Sturrock's plans for the new season.
''It's been a hard year but it has been one I am going to learn a lot from,'' Oakley told the club's official website.
''I will probably be a stronger player when I get back - especially mentally - and that will hopefully only be a few weeks now.
''I should be hitting my peak in the next two years, so if I can put this injury right and get my strength back, then this should be a good one for me.''
After a prolonged period without playing Oakley is taking each step as it comes but he does concede that once he does re-establish himself, there are wider ambitions to aim for.
''I am not quite fit yet so I am not really thinking about the team, but once I am, I will start thinking about my place and what I have to do to get back in,'' he continued.
''If I can stay injury free then I think my game is good enough to take me onto the next step which hopefully, if I can, will involve pushing the England thing.''