JAY McEveley is two weeks ahead of schedule as he recovers from knee surgery, according to Swindon Town manager Paolo Di Canio.

The left-back received treatment at the FIFA-certified Villa Stuart rehabilitation facility on the outskirts of Rome last month and was originally set for eight weeks on the sidelines.

However, the defender’s condition has since improved at a remarkable rate, and Di Canio revealed that McEveley could be available for selection as soon as the visit of Shrewsbury on January 19.

“It’s fantastic, his improvement,” he said.

“That proves what happens with his surgery. He told me that after 10 days when he came back, even though he was limping without strength and volume in his muscle: ‘my knee is more stable than three weeks ago when I was playing football’.

“He always felt at the end of the game he had too much mobility and too much looseness inside but already he feels he can do everything and there is no mobility, and it is fantastic.

“He started with 900 metres and 600 metres, on Saturday he had three sets of 100 metres 24 times and did not have any reaction with the swelling or stiffness in the knee.

“He feels stiff in general in the hamstring, quads and calf because he was out and now the intensity was very high, but not any problems in his knee.

“We keep the fingers crossed. If everything is okay all next week and the following week, he can start with the team in full sessions. That means in the beginning of six weeks. Maybe at the beginning of the seventh week he can be full time with the team. So that means two weeks early. We don’t want to anticipate.”

Di Canio paid special tribute to McEveley’s work ethic during his rehab period, stressing how impressed he has been by the former Blackburn and Derby man’s commitment to his recovery.

“He didn’t have one day off,” he said. “Normally if you have surgery you can have one day a little swollen and one day or two days is better to rest. Never. He had a session with Claudio in the morning at the ground or in the gym and in the afternoon in the swimming pool.

“He is a natural athlete. He doesn’t fatigue, he doesn’t feel tired. In the leg there is general stiffness but we are very happy.”