Ross Draper believes he will reap the long-term benefits of his loan switch to Elgin City.
Vastly-experienced midfielder Draper last week made the temporary move to Borough Briggs from League One side Cove Rangers, in a deal which runs until January.
The Englishman only made the move to Cove in the summer, but a knee injury has reduced him to just five outings for Paul Hartley’s men – the last of which came against Falkirk on on July 31.
Draper, formerly of Caley Thistle and Ross County, has undertaken injections to settle the pain, but he has found it difficult to progress his recovery on Cove’s artificial surface.
The 32-year-old signed a three-year deal with the Aberdeen outfit, but he is confident making the short-term switch to Elgin, where he hopes to play a run of games on the Moray side’s grass pitch, will be beneficial in his overall recovery.
Draper said: “I have been down in Leeds getting an injection in my knee.
“I have struggled with the AstroTurf at Cove, but the injections will hopefully let it settle down and hopefully I can get some games on grass at Elgin.
“I am trying to focus on the short-term. I spoke to the manager at Cove and at first they weren’t keen on me going on loan, as I’m their player and they want to use me.
“I mentioned that I needed to try and go out until January and play as many games as possible. I need to do short-term before I look at long-term.
“I need to make sure my knee is right to give me a chance to prolong my career as long as possible.
“The AstroTurf is a concern, but I genuinely think if do these baby steps to start with and get going I will be fine. It’s just difficult to get going on the AstroTurf.”
Draper says he initially detected the issue towards the end of last season, when he played his part in keeping County in the Premiership under John Hughes.
He added: “I felt it towards the end of last year. I was playing limited football, I wasn’t really starting games and was being used as a substitute quite a lot, so I was able to manage it.
“In the close season I came off it completely and rested it. It flared up again in pre-season though, when I was playing most games for Cove.
“I had a scan and it showed a bit of bone bruising on my knee. Bone bruising can be aggravated and can be quite angry and sometimes it can be a killer to get rid of. This injection will slow it down.
“The chairman and the manager at Cove have been brilliant in terms of what’s best for me.”
Draper will miss Saturday’s SPFL Trust Trophy encounter against Inverness, who he won the Scottish Cup with in 2015.
The Wolverhampton-born player is hoping to move closer to a return to action with Gavin Price’s men in the coming weeks, adding: “I will miss this weekend’s game. I would love to play, but the injection means I can’t play for a week.
“I don’t want to put a timescale on it, but it should be the short-term rather than long-term.
“The doctor suggested I stay off it for a week and then after that I will take it day-by-day and start to build up again.
“It has been so long since I felt good, so I obviously need to take my time, but hopefully there is some light at the end of the tunnel if I can get back fit and playing properly.”