DARLEY captain-coach Matt Cape is hopeful he will overcome a fractured leg in time for the start of the Ballarat Cricket Association season.
However, Cape said the most realistic return date would be for the Lions' round two club firsts encounter against North Ballarat.
The key all-rounder, who took 21 wickets and made 330 runs during the home and away rounds last season, fractured his left fibula in Darley's Ballarat Football League reserves semi final win over Melton recently.
He remains on crutches, but is hopeful of getting back walking next week.
"Realistically I think I'll probably miss the first game and that will be six or seven weeks after the injury has happened. It's not going to be too bad," Cape said.
After the club reached its first senior finals appearance in the BCA last season, Cape said taking the next step was the goal in 2012/13.
"We finished fourth, which is first time we made finals in the Ballarat league, but we lost to Wendouree with three or four overs to go in the semi final," Cape said.
"Our aim is to win a final. We know we've got the squad to do it."
Cape said further development from the younger players, and a lift from the seniors would hopefully help the club secure its goal.
The Ballarat Cricket Association season launches over three separate weekends next month.
Club firsts, seconds, thirds and fourths kick-start the new year with two-day fixtures, starting Saturday, October 6.