IVO Pekalski’s Oxford United debut is a month ahead of schedule thanks to working with one of Europe’s leading physiotherapists at home in Sweden.

Arsene Wenger reportedly described Simon Bakkioui as ‘the man with magic hands’ after helping Freddie Ljungberg recover from injuries during the midfielder’s time at Arsenal.

Other Sweden internationals, including former Southampton defender Michael Svensson and Leeds United’s Pontus Jansson, have been treated by the Moroccan-born physio.

Fortunately, Bakkioui works at Halmstad, who sold Pekalski to the U’s for an undisclosed fee in August.

The 27-year-old has spent the last few weeks working at his former club and the initial signs are good.

United boss Pep Clotet said: “Luckily for us, Sweden has one of the best rehabilitators for injuries in Europe, so he’s working with Ivo until the end of November.

“The report I have is that he’s one month ahead of schedule.

“Everyone was thinking Ivo would be back in March or April, but now he could start playing in February – that would be a good January signing.”

The midfielder was lined up as a replacement for John Lundstram when he signed, having featured regularly for Halmstad in the top-flight Allsvenskan.

But the 27-year-old, who missed eight months earlier in his career with a cruciate knee ligament injury, suffered a similar blow in his first training session at United.

Considering the Sweden international had not had a chance to put down roots in Oxford, Clotet felt time spent back in Halmstad with family and friends after the operation would be far more beneficial during a challenging time.

He said: “As Ivo had a long-term injury he got surgery here in England with a very good surgeon.

“Then I thought the best thing for him was to go back to Sweden after the initial part of the work was done here.

“When you’re injured the balance between your psychology – the fact you’re injured and don’t feel you’re contributing – is very important.

“I think it would have been tougher for him to do it here.

“I didn’t want him to be doing the work here and then go home and be on his own. I think it’s better.”