(Reuters) - Swansea City forward Wilfried Bony is progressing well in his rehabilitation after suffering a serious knee injury and remains hopeful of a return to the first team at the start of next season.
Bony ruptured his cruciate ligament against Leicester City in the Premier League last month, ruling out the Ivorian for the rest of the campaign.
"I am feeling better," Bony told the club website www.swanseacity.com. "I am almost six weeks on now from the operation and things are going well.
“The doctors have told me that I am recovering fast and I could be back for pre-season, so that is my target.
“Mentally, I am feeling very strong. I am encouraging my team mates, trying to motivate them and make them laugh. This is the best way to be.”
Bony secured a move to Manchester City from Swansea in 2015 but returned to the Welsh club at the start of the season and remains an influential figure in the dressing room.
A dismal first half of the campaign dragged the Swans into a relegation battle and they remain just three points above the drop zone, but Bony backs his team mates to retain their top-flight status.
“Everybody is trying everything to stay up. The manager has given the players a lot of motivation — he has lifted everyone,” he added.
“We are happier with our position now but we want more than that — we want to be secure.”
Swansea are a vastly improved side under Carlos Carvalhal, winning 18 points from the Portuguese manager’s 10 games in charge since he took over from Paul Clement in December.
They next face a trip to second-placed Manchester United on Saturday.
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by John O'Brien