IVO Pekalski has received a big boost in his recovery from a serious injury by returning to Oxford United’s training ground this week.

The midfielder ruptured cruciate ligaments in his left knee days after signing from Halmstad in August.

After spending the first month in England following the operation, the 27-year-old returned home to Sweden for the next stage of his rehabilitation.

But with Pekalski making good progress, he is back at United to complete the process.

He said: “Of course it’s nice. You feel more like you’re one of the guys.

“Maybe I’ve felt a little bit like that already, but the distance makes it a bit harder.

“Once you’re here you feel it’s coming.

“Still I know I have to put hard work in every day and there’s a lot of things to do before I get there.

“I’m happy to be here and I’m motivated to work hard to get back.”

It has been a tough few months for the Swede, who has been capped at senior level by his country.

But having recovered from a similar injury to his right knee earlier in his career, Pekalski has managed to stay upbeat after getting over the initial shock.

He said: “I wasn’t happy when it happened, of course, but I knew that the only thing that can make it better is to be so focused and accept the situation.

“I got injured pretty quick, what can I do?

“All I can do is my daily work and be positive about the situation “Of course there were maybe three or four hours that were really tough that day when it happened. Since then I’ve been optimistic.”

He added: “I’ve been through it and I know there’s worse things in life than an ACL rupture.”

United believe Pekalski is around a month ahead of schedule, which would tentatively mean a return date in February.

While it can be dangerous to look too far ahead in lengthy recoveries, manager Pep Clotet is pleased with the progress.

He said: “It’s brilliant because we could see he’s well ahead of the recovery plan.

“His knee is very stabilised and he’s already running and doing ball work outside.

“It’s very positive because soon he will be training with the squad and getting fit.

“The knee looks really strong. If he comes back in February he has done a fantastic recovery.”