FORMER Burnley star Jay Rodriguez admits the prospect of making his recovery from injury in time for a Turf Moor reunion is spurring him on in his battle to return to full fitness.
Southampton striker Rodriguez, who left the Clarets for the south coast two years ago, is currently sidelined after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament against Manchester City earlier this year.
The injury caused Rodriguez to miss this summer’s World Cup in Brazil and as yet no comeback date for the Burnley-born ace has been set.
But the 24-year-old is targeting the Turf Moor fixture on December 13 as one game he really wants to play in.
The Clarets are back in the Premier League for the first time in four years and Rodriguez is desperate to face his old club.
He said: “I want to be able to be fit to play in that and go back to Burnley. That is certainly my aim.
“I haven’t got a specific comeback date from injury and it is just about working through the phases at the moment. I think there are six phases to the recovery and when we get to stage six we can start looking at putting a timescale on it.
“But seeing the Burnley fixture in December definitely helps with motivation and I really want to play a part.
“It will be great to go back and see all the fans and be able to play at Turf Moor again and see some of the players and people at the club.
“The Burnley game was the first fixture I looked out for.
“I am starting to see some positives with me knee and I am feeling good about the recovery. Hopefully it will go to plan.”
Rodriguez’s Southampton side saw manager Mauricio Pochettino depart for Southampton at the end of the season with former Holland international Ronald Koeman named as his successor.
And Rodriguez is looking forward to working with a man who won 78 international caps and played for Barcelona and Ajax during a stellar career.
I met Ronald Koeman very briefly,” added Rodriguez who was in the Southampton gym when Koeman came through as part of his tour of the training ground after being named boss.
“He is obviously a legend in the game and played at the very highest level. I am excited about working with him. He asked me how the injury was and how I was getting on. It was only a very brief chat but it was nice to be able to meet him.
“I can’t wait to get back training again and working with him and hopefully it will be a good move for Southampton to bring him in.”