Simon Heslop is over his year of hell and looking to make up for lost time with Boston United.
After spending more than 12 months out of action due to a knee injury, the midfielder made his Pilgrims debut on Saturday in the 3-1 victory over York City - the club he signed from.
“I feel great and if it it was up to me I’d start every week,” said Heslop, who joined the game as a late substitute.
“But it’s probably the wise decision to take my time and build my minutes up.
“I really appreciate Craig (Elliott, Boston manager) bringing me in. Especially as the club’s on a promotion push. I’m really happy to be part of that.”
It almost feels like a second chance for the former Barnsley and Wrexham man, after the physical and mental battles he has been forced to overcome.
“It’s been over a year, since January 2019, so it’s been a long recovery,” said Heslop, who has played alongside United teammates Alex Whittle and Jake Wright at York, as well as having a stint with Simon Ainge at Halifax.
“When you play a team sport and that team element is taken away from you and you become an individual trying to get back fit, it’s hard. I wasn’t used to that at all.
“It was really hard to start with. Once you get yourself in a routine and see progress it makes things a little easier.
“I was hoping to get back sooner than I have done, but I’m proud I’ve got back. I’ve worked really hard and hopefully I can kick on from here.”
Former Minstermen skipper Heslop found himself sidelined after undergoing a second knee operation.
After his contract expired in the summer, he returned to York where manager Steve Watson allowed him to train with the club and regain his fitness.
After signing non-contract forms, he made one appearance against Whitby Town in the North Riding Senior Cup on January 29 before making the switch to Boston.
“It’s been a strange week to be honest,” Heslop said after Saturday’s win.
“I’ve no bitterness leaving York. The manager’s been great for me letting me go in and get fit.
“But Boston pay my wages now. It’s got to be like that.
“I want to come here and do really well, so I’m delighted they won.”