STRIKER Jon Parkin is desperate to make up for lost time and earn a return to Fleetwood Town’s starting 11.
It’s been a frustrating couple of months for the 32-year-old, who has been out of action since pulling his hamstring in Town’s 1-1 draw with Rotherham United at the start of November.
Parkin returned to action in a training game at Highbury on Saturday and is keen to return to competitive action.
He said: “We had two 30-minute games on Saturday. I refereed the first and thought I was going to play in one half. I ended up playing in two, which was a bonus.
“It was great to be back on the pitch and playing again.
“I’ve had my hamstring in the back of my mind, and it was nice to get out there, play football and just forget about it.” But Parkin, having already suffered one setback in his comeback bid, knows there is still a lot of hard work ahead.
He said: “I’d done all the fitness work and the running to get back, and then in the first training session I pulled the hamstring again in the same place. That was a real blow.
“I’ve been out 10 or 11 weeks now. I know I’ve got to get my head down and put the work in to get back in the side.
“There’s a game on Thursday, weather permitting (against Blackpool’s development squad), which I’m hoping I can play a part in.
“Beyond that, it’s a case of trying to be fit as soon as possible and fighting for that place.”
Parkin, a summer capture who played for current Championship leaders Cardiff last season, admitted it has been frustrating watching Town’s progress from the sidelines.
He said: “It’s always frustrating being injured, especially when the results aren’t going right. You just want to get involved and do your bit to help.
But Parkin knows there’s plenty of competition for places at Fleetwood, particularly since the arrival of record signing Jamille Matt from Kidderminster, but is keen to stake his claim for a starting place and help Town’s younger players along the way.
He said: “There is plenty of competition, that’s very clear. And there are some good young players there.
“But, I think Aston Villa is a good example – they have a very young side and look what happened to them against Bradford.
“You need to have some experience in there as well. You need to have the right balance, the best of both.”
And the former Preston man says he still has plenty to prove to the Highbury faithful.
“I don’t think they’ve seen the best of me yet. Before the injury I’d played a couple of games and I think things were starting to go well. Then I pulled my hamstring, but that’s just football.”
Parkin had scored three in two games before his injury, doubling his goal tally after a hat-trick at Morecambe in September.
Town have slipped to ninth in League Two, but with 19 games remaining Parkin is convinced they can still make a promotion push.
He said: “Everyone knows we have a very good squad here. There are 57 points up for grabs, so there’s plenty of opportunity to get up there.
“We’re just five points off third spot. We just need to make the most of these two home games (against Oxford on Saturday and then Capital One Cup heroes Bradford the following weekend) and put together a good, consistent run.
“It’s a competitive league but we know we can beat anybody.”