Johnson looks forward to sharing the comfort zone on return to City

Michael Johnson's return from a knee operation is being spurred on by the prospect of playing alongside Manchester City's galaxy of stars.

The 22-year-old midfielder has not played since the Carling Cup tie at Scunthorpe United last October after rupturing a cruciate knee ligament in training, but he can not wait to join his colleagues at upwardly mobile City.

He is now on course to return to full training in the next couple of months and he is targeting a playing return possibly by December.

"It will be great to play in a really good team. It's easy to forget that we were just a mid-table team not too long ago," he said yesterday.

"We had some decent players, in fact some very good players, but as a team we were doing average.

"Now when you see the way we played against Liverpool [a 3-0 win], things are just looking so good.

"It would be so easy to play in this team. Having those sort of quality players around you makes it easier."

On his recovery progress, Johnson told the club's website: "It's going well. I saw the surgeon two weeks ago and he said about six to eight weeks before full training.

"Getting full fitness from there is another step, but December doesn't seem that far now, everything's getting a lot closer for me.

"I'm out there getting fit, and that seemed a long way off back in February. I'm not rushing it but a game before December would be a bonus, really," Johnson added.

At Wolverhampton Wanderers, Michael Kightly insists he is "staying positive" as he attempts to regain full fitness following an extended spell on the sidelines with a troublesome knee injury.

The 24-year-old winger has not played since November last year because of a patella tendon problem and was this week left out of Wolves' 25-man squad for the first half of the Premier League season after suffering a setback in his recovery.

Kightly is hoping for a loan move once he is fully fit but remains optimistic he will be able to force his way back into the manager Mick McCarthy's plans when Wolves' squad list is revised in January.

"Obviously, any setback is disappointing but it's something I've learnt to cope with over the last year or so," Kightly told Wolves' website. "This is a serious injury and one which is complex to deal with. But I'm staying positive and carrying on with the rehab without any pressure on when I need to be fit again.

"Once it was realised I wasn't going to be ready it was always going to be the right decision not to be included in the 25.

"The gaffer needed players who he knew would be available to him, if not now, then certainly over the next few weeks.

"I am ready to give it as long as it takes but, obviously, when I do get fit again it would be good to get out on loan if any clubs were interested.

"If that was to happen then by the time January comes around I could be ready to try and challenge for a place in the squad here."