Mike Tindall is quietly confident he will return to action in time for England's RBS 6 Nations Championship clash against Wales.
England vice-captain Tindall faces a race to be fit for the world champions' tournament opener in Cardiff on February 5.
Tindall is currently recovering from a stress fracture to his right foot but the 41 times-capped Bath centre hopes to be playing again before England's Millennium Stadium trip, despite forecasts that he could spend two months sidelined.
"It is a bit of an annoyance, very frustrating," said Tindall, after watching Bath's 47-7 European Cup victory over Italian champions Treviso.
"You learn to live with injuries pretty quickly in professional rugby, but I will be very upset if I miss the start of the 6 Nations.
"The only question is whether I will have played enough games before then, in terms of my match fitness."
Tindall also has a long-standing shoulder problem. But the foot injury - a cracked bone at the top of his second toe - is his most pressing concern.
England coach Andy Robinson views Tindall as an essential part of his midfield, especially with Will Greenwood struggling for form and Henry Paul unlikely to feature against Wales following his first-half substitution during the defeat by Australia last month.
Bath conclude their European campaign with games against Leinster and Bourgoin in mid-January, followed by a possible Cup quarter-final and a Premiership appointment with Saracens - all before the big RBS 6 Nations kick-off.
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