British & Irish Lion Sean Maitland insists he's ahead of schedule in his comeback from a shoulder injury and is aiming for a World Cup starting berth for Scotland.
The 26-year-old initially suffered the injury playing for club side Glasgow Warriors back in January but subsequent setbacks have halted Maitland's recovery.
The Scotland international - who was part of the 2013 Lions tour that emerged victorious from Australia - has been named in Vern Cotter's World Cup training squad after being given an August return date.
And Maitland intends to play his part in the competition, despite vowing not to rush back too soon.
"I am ahead of schedule," Maitland told The Scotsman. "I can run. I can keep fit, which is good, but I'm not taking contact. It's a week-by-week basis.
"I don't want to chuck dates out there because I don't want to kid myself but some time in August they are saying. Maybe not the first World Cup warm-up game but I'm pretty sure I will get a couple of games under my belt and get some match fitness.
"It's been a bit of a frustrating season to be honest. I hurt my shoulder and I was told to rehab it for six to eight weeks and I would be fine. It just didn't get better.
"The shoulder just didn't get better but I got it re-scanned and was told that I needed surgery… four to six months out. That had a massive impact on my season."