CHRISTIAN Ribeiro can see the light at the end of the tunnel in his recovery from injury, but the Oxford United full back is cautious not to run before he can walk.

The luckless summer signing suffered a fractured ankle blocking a shot from Liam Sercombe in the final training session of pre-season in August.

It caused more damage than initially thought and required an operation two months ago.

The complications mean even now no-one at the U’s is willing to put a date on when Ribeiro is expected to make his long-awaited debut, although it is more likely to be in weeks rather than months.

“Once you can start jogging I’ll feel a lot better,” he said.

“I think I’m 90 per cent there now, but generally what we’ve been doing is getting back to being a normal walking person again, getting the normal range of movement in the joint.

“The pain I’ve had to suffer to force my ankle through that has been testing, but I can see the light more than I could a month or so ago.”

It is never a good time to suffer a serious injury, but there are surely few worse moments than right at the start of a spell with a new club.

Bizarrely, this is not the first time it has happened to the defender, who has been capped at senior level by Wales.

He ruptured cruciate knee ligaments on debut for Bristol City, meaning there was more than 12 months between his first and second appearances for the club.

Ribeiro admits it is difficult to feel completely part of the set-up when he has been unable to contribute.

But the 26-year-old has sought to stay in as positive a mindset as possible.

He said: “Everyone here is a good bloke, but there isn’t anything anyone can do to integrate me into that.

“You work so hard to get involved and to have it taken away at the last second is very difficult.

“But you have to try and use it as a positive and think ‘I can’t wait to be back involved’ and use it as a motivation.

“A lot of the time you’ll be in that physio room on your own early in the morning and doing a few basic exercises thinking ‘this is rubbish’.

“But you just have to try and think it’s all for the greater good and these days will add up in the end.”