Jim McAlister says it is a shame his long-awaited return from injury has come so late on in the season.
The 32-year-old came off the bench in last weekend’s 3-0 win at Gillingham to make his first league appearance in over 14 months.
During that time, the midfielder has been recovering from the broken leg he suffered in the draw against Colchester United in February of last year.
McAlister initially returned to action back in January, in Pool’s Checkatrade Trophy clash at Shrewsbury Town, only to suffer another setback in training. But he’s confident he’s now over the worst.
“It felt good to be back out there,” McAlister said.
“It helps the boys putting in the type of performance they did to give us a three-goal cushion and that made it easier for the manager to put on the likes of myself to get a run out.
“I feel good. I’ve said that for the last couple of weeks because it’s probably the first time I’ve been completely pain free in terms of my leg.
“So it’s just unfortunate the season is coming to an end.
“I feel reasonably fit but it’s completely different when you go out onto the pitch and play, it’s a different type of fitness.
“But it was good, I really enjoyed the 10 minutes.
“I appreciate everything the gaffer and the staff have done for me, they’ve spent hours getting me right. I owe everyone a debt of gratitude to get me back onto the field of play.
“It was tough because I got close in January. I got back on the field back then, albeit it was just one performance, but then I suffered another setback.
“So mentally it’s been quite challenging but at this club you’re surrounded by good people, which helps massively.
“I’ve got a good family back home as well which has got me through times when I’ve been quite low.
“But I feel like a kid again, I feel buzzing to get back on the field of play.
“I’m going to work hard at it over the summer and for once in my career I’m looking forward to pre-season.”
While McAlister was only given a five-minute run out, the Scot did find himself in the thick of the attacking action in the final stages.
He added: “The gaffer put me on to replace Sean Longstaff, and obviously Longy plays in that number 10 position.
“So I’ve been put on to play off big Armand (Gnanduillet) and spaces were opening up because they had maybe lost their shape and discipline a little bit.
“It was just unfortunate we couldn’t get the ball down in the final third to give myself a chance of getting a goal.”