DEFENDER Dan Parslow is targeting York City’s 2014/15 pre-season friendlies for a return to playing action.

Parslow, who suffered cruciate ligament damage at Southend in mid-November, will have been sidelined for eight months when Nigel Worthington’s men are preparing for the start of the next campaign.

He is following his own rehabilitation programme at the City’s Wigginton Road training ground but hopes to join in with the whole group again by the beginning of July.

On his progress, Parslow said: “It’s 13 weeks post-op now, so I am stepping up my cardio-vascular work. I am doing a bit more endurance running and slowly building up the pace.

“I am also doing a lot of strengthening work, which has been the case since the operation and I’ve been doing a lot of squats to try and strengthen the quads and hamstrings. The knee feels more stable week by week but I am only doing straight-line exercises.

“Twisting and turning is still a short while away and, at the moment, it’s a matter of building up all the muscles around the knee to make sure it’s nice and secure.

“The timetable I am working towards is quite vague but, hopefully come pre-season, I will be doing all the endurance fitness work with the group.

“Then, it will be a case of just easing me back in with contact stuff and, hopefully, catching a few games in pre-season but it’s still early days. We will have to see how the next few months go but, at the moment, everything is on schedule and my goal is to be back at the start of the season and kick on from there.”

Parslow has admitted, meanwhile, that three-time cruciate ligament injury victim Michael Coulson’s League Two Player of the Month nomination last month has provided inspiration for the 28-year-old centre-back, adding: “Michael has arguably been our best player of late and that definitely gives you a lot of encouragement.

“He’s been through some tough times and had his fair share of injuries and spells on the sidelines so it’s fantastic knowing he’s done his three times and is out there performing how he is. He’s the benchmark really because rupturing your anterior cruciate ligaments is a serious injury.”

Parslow has confessed, too, that his enforced lay-off has been made slightly easier by the team’s positive progress on the pitch since the turn of the year, culminating in the run of seven consecutive clean sheets. “Up to now, I have always been available for selection, so it’s been difficult and strange but injuries happen and you just have to knuckle down and try to get back fit as soon as possible,” he reasoned. “When you are not available, you just want to help the team as much as you can, but the boys have been fantastic.

“We look strong and organised at the back and are keeping clean sheet after clean sheet. As defenders, you pride yourself on that and this run has shot us up the league to a point where we are right in the mix.”

Parslow stressed the importance of not under-estimating Accrington - this afternoon’s visitors to Bootham Crescent. Stanley still need points to stave off the threat of relegation and Parslow was a member of the City side that, with four fixtures left to play last season, surrendered a slender home lead in injury time. “It’s completely different circumstances to this time last year when that last-minute equaliser was a real kick in the teeth in our fight for survival,” he recalled.