Kyel Reid is relieved to be back on a level playing field with his Preston North End team-mates in terms of fitness.
The winger was forced to sit out pre-season training last year while he did rehabilitation work following knee surgery.
He effectively spent last season playing catch-up with his fitness, having to settle for being on the fringes of PNE’s promotion-winning squad.
Reid hopes things can be different in 2015/16 and has played in both of the friendly games to date against Chorley and Bamber Bridge.
In the 4-0 victory over Brig on Tuesday night, he rifled home North End’s third goal from 20 yards and then set up Jordan Hugill for the fourth.
The Londoner joined PNE on a Bosman from Bradford a year ago.
He was recovering from a torn cruciate ligament at the time, which delayed his North End debut until September.
Reid made 26 appearances last season, 12 of those starts, with his last slice of action being as a substitute against Manchester United in the FA Cup in February.
“I knew that season would be difficult when it came to getting into the side,” Reid told the Evening Post.
“We had a good squad and the side was consistent in picking up good results.
“Behind the scenes I kept working hard on getting fit so I could get back to playing the way I did before the injury.
“I’m fully over my injury now, I’m happy with how things are going and I’m buzzing to be involved.
“This time last year, I was doing rehab work after the knee operation instead of doing pre-season training.
“Once I’d done that, I then had to do the pre-season work on my own.
“It is good to have started training from the first day this time, joining in the banter and being at the same level and pace as the other lads.
“Now I have to focus on staying fit, keeping my knee strong and listening to the gaffer to see what he expects of me.
“I feel 100% better with myself fitness-wise than last year, while I have no concerns about my knee.”
Reid, 27, was pleased to be on the scoresheet in the win over Brig, finding the back of the net in some style soon after coming on a half-time sub.
He will now be hoping for more game time when North End play Hearts at Deepdale on Saturday.
Said Reid: “I enjoy scoring any goal, whether it is in a friendly game or a league fixture.
“When I got the ball from Bailey Wright’s pass, I was not sure how much room I had.
“As I turned, I saw that my marker was on the wrong side of me so I knew if I could get the ball out of my feet, there would be room to push the ball on and get a shot away.
“I managed to hit it sweetly and it went into the top corner which was a good feeling.
“For Jordan Hugill’s goal, he showed great movement by coming short and then going to the back stick. I put the ball over and he finished it well.”