Hartlepool United defender Carl Magnay wants to put his injury nightmare to bed by throwing his hat in the ring for first-team selection this weekend.
But he’s not sure if Pools head physio Ian ‘Buster’ Gallagher will let him off the leash that soon.
Magnay completed his first 90 minutes for the club since recovering from the second cruciate knee ligament injury of his career yesterday, as Pools reserves drew 1-1 with Grimsby Town in a Central League encounter at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.
And the full-back says he is fit and ready for selection against Blackpool in League Two this weekend, if boss Dave Jones needs him.
But Magnay thinks Buster might put the blocks on a Bloomfield Road return on Saturday.
“Buster has finally let the reins off me,” the defender joked.
“Well, maybe he hasn’t really.
“Technically, I am there and available. If it was a cup semi-final or a big game, I would probably play but we will wait and see.
“Buster has maybe said to the gaffer to wait but if he wants me I will play.”
Ahead of the Blackpool clash, Magnay, who has been out since September 17, continued: “Getting 90 minutes completed was the test. We played 60 last week behind closed doors and then 90 this week.
“I am back now – and feel fit and available to be selected.”
While getting back fit was tough, and the endless physio and recovery arduous, the toughest part of the whole injury for the 28-year-old, who started his career at Leeds United and then moved on to Chelsea, was the mental battle.
“It is massive,” he said. “I have done it before.
“That was a big psychological hurdle for me to get over.
“Playing again was like a weight lifted off my shoulders.
“There was a little bit of trepidation about getting out and playing after what has gone on with my knee.
“There was only once when I even thought about it in the game. It felt absolutely fine. I am delighted to finally get back.”