MATT Phillips is hoping for a happy ending to what has been a season to forget.
The Blackpool 21-year-old started the campaign as one of the hottest properties in the Championship, attracting a £5m bid from Premier League side Southampton.
But problems at the start of the season with former manager Ian Holloway and a two-month injury lay-off have hampered his progress.
However, the frontman claims all that’s behind him and he still has time to rescue his season.
Phillips said: “It’s been very frustrating. I felt I was just hitting form this season when I got my injury. It’s been a long drag but I’m glad to be back.”
“I felt good after the game on Saturday and I’m raring to go. I’m hungry and ready to get back into it.”
Phillips came on for the last half-hour of Saturday’s 2-1 home defeat by Cardiff, his first appearance since Bolton visited Bloomfield Road 10 weeks earlier.
A niggling toe problem had caused Phillips to play with painkilling injections until a scan revealed just how serious the injury was. I played three games with an injection and I didn’t think it was a bad injury at all,” Phillips added.
“Then I had to pull out of a Scotland game, which was a massive disappointment, and had to have the operation. Then the real work started for me. “Now I feel great. I’ve worked hard and eaten the right things”
It’s fair to say Phillips has been missed, Pool having managed to win only two games in 13 without the Scotland international.
And Phillips admits it’s been frustrating to watch. “You want the best for your team-mates, so it was hard to sit back and watch them go on the run we’ve had,” he said.
“I want us to win every game and to be part of a winning side, so we’ll be looking to turn these results around now. There’s still plenty of time.
“We played the league leaders on Saturday, and although we lost there wasn’t much difference in quality.
“There are plenty of points still to play for this season. It’s not over yet.”
Phillips played only one game under previous boss Michael Appleton and admitted: “There’s a lot of confusion at the moment – no-one really knows what’s going on.
“But the players and Thommo stick together and pull through. We can’t worry about what’s going on off the pitch. We turn up at training and give everything.”
Phillips has thrown himself into contention for Saturday’s trip Wolves and insists he wouldn’t have returned had the injury not fully healed.
He said: “I wouldn’t have put myself out there if it wasn’t right. I’ve learned from my mistakes.
“We look forward now. We are united as a team and we’ll stick together.”