Nathan Delfouneso is hoping to rediscover his early-season form for Blackpool after two injury hiccups disrupted his season.
READ MORE: Blackpool's new chief executive exchanges Middle East for Bloomfield Road
The forward was handed his first start since August at Carlisle on Tuesday, three days after making his long-awaited comeback off the bench in the home defeat to Rotherham United.
Delfouneso had missed five games after suffering a second hamstring injury of the season at Coventry City last month.
The 28-year-old had earlier been sidelined for three games after picking up a knock in the 2-2 draw at Gillingham in August.
But after playing an hour of the EFL Trophy defeat at Carlisle United in midweek, Delfouneso feels he’s now back to full fitness.
“I feel good,” he told The Gazette. “On a personal note, it felt good to get some minutes into me and I now feel fit and strong.
“Ask anyone around the club and they will vouch for how gutted I was after suffering the injury.
“I’m not used to missing games and it was especially frustrating getting back to fitness only to get another injury.
“I’d like to think I’m strong mentally but it probably took its toll on me when you’ve got things going on.
“When you’ve got an injury, all you want to do is get back playing.
“But thankfully I have some special people around me who helped me through the frustrating time, so I can only thank them.
“Now I’m just looking forward to picking up where I left off and hopefully I can help the team to move forward.”
When Delfouneso suffered his second strain, many assumed he had been rushed back from his initial injury too early.
But the latest problem appeared in a different part of his hamstring, making Delfouneso the victim of a cruel piece of misfortune.
He added: “That made it even more frustrating as I injured a different part of my hamstring.
“The fact I got a completely different injury only added to my frustration.
“I guess it’s all part and parcel of the game but hopefully I’ve put it all behind me, and I can pick up where I left off and go on a strong run again.
“It wasn’t the case that I was rushed back too soon – I felt good.
“I was flying in training and I had hit every marker I needed to.
“I just got completely unlucky, that’s the only thing you can put it down to.
“It was the same leg, just a different part of the hamstring.
“But I’ve worked hard with the physio and hopefully it’s all good now.”
Delfouneso, who had started the season in bright form alongside Sullay Kaikai, added: “The injuries are especially frustrating considering how well I had done at the start of the season.
“When you’re in a good moment, the last thing you want is to pick up an injury.
“I felt I initially came back at a good time as I hadn’t missed too much game-time, so I felt I was good to go and get back to where I was before.
“Unfortunately I got knocked down again but I’ve managed to pick myself up.”