SHANDON Baptiste’s recovery from knee surgery is ahead of schedule and the midfielder is on track to join part of Oxford United’s pre-season.

The 21-year-old burst on to the scene at the start of the last campaign with a series of eye-catching displays.

But after missing 11 weeks with a dislocated shoulder, his season was cruelly ended just six minutes into his comeback in January.

At the time it was feared the ruptured cruciate ligaments could sideline Baptiste for a year.

Progress since surgery has been good, though, and he started running outside before the end of the season.

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United are optimistic he is on course to make a playing return in September, which means he will have the boost of doing pre-season alongside the rest of the squad if the next few weeks go to plan.

He said: “In a bad situation they said it was a good time to get injured, because I can play the majority of next season and I’d be able to do a lot of work with the team in pre-season.

“Hopefully I’ll be running and doing some of the sessions with the team.

“To do that will just make me a bit happier and it will seem like the injury is moving a bit quicker.

“Over the summer I’m in three or four times a week just to keep on top of the work and keep improving.

“To be fair I don’t mind because I want to be ready for next season. I will do anything I can to help that, so my summer is going to be a bit busy.”

Baptiste admitted the first week after suffering the knee injury against Brentford in the Emirates FA Cup was difficult to handle.

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But sharing a treatment room with Rob Hall and Jon Obika made dealing with the mental side less challenging.

He said: “Beeks (Obika) and Hally being out with the same injury really helped me to stay positive and keep working hard.

“Without them there would have been some long days.

“Even now I’ve got some long days ahead of me, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

“Jordan Graham was a big help because every day he would come into the physio room and ask me how my knee was feeling.

“Whatever I replied he had been through it before (in 2016) and gave some advice, so he was a really big help.

“He was out for 14 months but has just played a whole season.

“It shows if you do everything properly you can come back stronger.”