"It's a little bit difficult for me to come back in a team that's played 50 or 60 games this year," he conceded. "Training slightly peters off and it's about recovering from one game and getting the stiffness out of your legs, then preparing for the next game tactically. Everything is not so much fitness work and, for me coming back, I need to be exposed to the rigours of it. So I'm doing a bit extra, whether in the gym or outside with different sprint things.
"I can't imagine myself getting back and starting in the eleven. My mindset has got to be get myself ready mentally, physically and everything else because I might be needed for 10 or 20 minutes at a late stage of the season. Who knows? It could be the last game of the season at Sunderland. I might have built up enough, whether playing in a Reserves game or two, and then that's fine.
"But I think the immediate thing is to get myself mentally ready, just in case the manager says: 'I'll put you on the bench' or whatever and I'll come on for 15 minutes and try to nick a goal if we're struggling."