Ledley King is confident of being fit for the start of the season after coming through his first 45 minutes of football since the World Cup unscathed.
The Tottenham captain King played the opening half of Tuesday night's pre-season friendly between a Spurs XI and Ipswich at Portman Road, which the visitors won 1-0.
The 29-year-old England defender, whose appearances need to be managed carefully due to a persistent knee problem, is now eyeing his club's final warm-up fixture against Fiorentina on Saturday. And he believes he will also be ready to play a part in Spurs' Premier League opener against Manchester City the following weekend.
"It's always great to get those first 45 minutes under your belt," said King, who could also be named in Fabio Capello's squad for next Wednesday's friendly against Hungary. "Things have gone well so far in pre-season and it's a nice touch to get out there and do that work. I've had some good training sessions and we didn't want to push the game too early, so it's ideal to get out there, play 45 minutes and hopefully now I'll play some part against Fiorentina on Saturday and look to build up for the start of the season."
Tottenham host City a week on Saturday in the Premier League curtain-raiser before making their Champions League debut three or four days later in the first leg of their qualifying round tie.
There is no let-up for Harry Redknapp's team, who travel to Stoke City on 21 August and host Wigan Athletic the following week, with the second leg of their Champions League tie sandwiched in between. It remains to be seen for how many of those games Redknapp is prepared to risk King's notoriously fragile knees. His captain, who last week returned to training along with Spurs' other World Cup players, is focused on being fit for the visit of City.
"The season has certainly come around quickly, especially for the lads who were at the World Cup," he said. "One more friendly and as many training sessions as we can fit in and we're back into it. The important thing is that we're ready for City."
But King could not resist a look ahead to his first taste of the Champions League, with the play-off round draw due to take place tomorrow.
"It seems like it's been forever coming, so we all look forward to seeing who we'll actually be playing," he said. "The most important thing is that we're fully prepared going into that game, whoever we play against. It's a massive game for the club and I'm sure we'll be ready for it, whoever we play."