ALEX Baptiste feels his recovery from the worst month of his life is finally complete.
The Seasiders defender believes he has at last got his nightmare September out of his system after giving his best Premier League display yet.
The 25-year-old is feeling great after starting Pool’s last four matches but only five months ago he was at his lowest ever ebb.
“September was the worst month of my life without doubt,” he revealed. “I did my knee and my hand and we had a family bereavement as well, when my grandad died.
“So it was a tough time but there is a silver lining at the end. Although it has taken a long time, I am back in the side and I am very happy. It’s brilliant to be back.
“I think I had my best game since I came back on Saturday because Villa’s front four are so good and pose such a challenge.
“It was my fourth game back and I think I’m starting to get the hang of it again.
“I hadn’t been enjoying the season at all and obviously it was a bit worrying when I first got fit again and couldn’t get in the side.”
But Baptiste had no gripes about having to wait and the tough times made him grateful to be at a club like Blackpool.
He explained: “The team was doing unbelievably well and you can’t complain about not walking straight in.
“Everyone wants to play, but if the team are doing well you just have to get behind whoever is in your position.
“That’s the best thing about this squad – anyone who plays your position and is not in the team will get behind you and support you. The boys here are fantastic.”
Now Baptiste is one of the players in possession of a jersey and he hopes he has done enough to stay in the side for Tuesday’s clash with Tottenham.
“The manager told us in our meeting before the game how quick Villa were in attack and their goal was like lightning.
“In the first 10 minutes it probably looked as if we were going to lose six in a row but we got to grips with them as a defensive unit.
“After the first 30 minutes I thought we bossed them and played really well as a team.
“We needed the result and it was important to get back on level terms quickly. It might have affected confidence had it stayed 1-0 for a long time.
“But we have proved several times we can come back against big sides and we never panicked about going behind.”
The performance was all the more satisfying for Baptiste because he was not playing in the centre-half position he considers his best.
“I am just grateful to play. The gaffer trusts me at right-back and I just try and do the job the best I can,” he says, “though I do need to work on my forward play.”
He certainly isn’t being eased into the role gently, and the steep learning curve would continue if Baptiste stays at right-back against Spurs.
“Gareth Bale next? How good is he? Hopefully he’ll have a bad game.
“But you want to play against the best players and last season I’d have snapped your hand off to be given the chance to play against Tottenham and Gareth Bale, who is one of the best wingers in the world.”