Fleetwood Town boss Graham Alexander is delighted to have striker Jamille Matt back firing goals and singing the praises of a career in football.
Matt bagged his first goal in 17 months last Saturday –the final step on the road to recovery after a devastating run of injuries.
And he revealed following Saturday’s 4-0 win over Colchester how he’s ready to lift the spirits of any player feeling down about their career – music to the ears of Alexander.
“I think he learned a little bit about himself and the game while he was injured,” the Fleetwood manager said.
“It happened to me in my career, at a certain period you take it for granted a little bit.
“But something always brings you back and you realise what a fantastic job it is you do.
“I think that happened to ‘Jamma’ when he was injured.”
Matt severely damaged a cruciate ligament in the final pre-season friendly of 2014 – spending an entire season on the sidelines.
His recovery, involving hours of solo work and one-to-one sessions with physio Luke Bussey, has surprised everyone at the club, not least the manager.
Alexander wasn’t expecting to have Matt fighting for a place at this point in the campaign, never mind finding the net.
He said: “He’s worked so hard behind the scenes to get to this level – to give himself the chance.
“He started the first game of the season, which we didn’t led for fitness since arriving at Fleetwood from Kidderminster – suffering a broken leg which kept him out of much of the club’s League Two promotion campaign before his knee injury nightmare.
But Alexander believes, given a run of fitness, he can prove himself a force in League One – Matt having a goals-to-starts ratio bettered only by Jamie Vardy and Magno Vieira in the last five years.
“His goals per game has been very good for us,” said Alexander.
“He’s just been very unlucky with injuries, as I’ll keep telling people.
“If he gets a good run in the team and a lot of games under his belt he’ll score.
“But for now everybody’s delighted because he’s a great lad and everybody knows what he’s put in.
“To score was a great way to finish the game last weekend.”