Keith Keane wants to put his injury and suspension woes behind him in order to help Preston North End push up the League One table.
The right-back will miss today’s Deepdale clash with Stevenage as he completes a two-match ban for totting-up 10 yellow cards.
Hehad only just returned after cartilage surgery which had sidelined him for three months when he got the booking which triggered his suspension.
But Keane is free for action after the weekend and looking to make up for lost time.
“I’ve never had such a stop-start season since I started playing,” Keane told the Evening Post.
“On the one hand it’s been a good season because I’ve been playing when available.
“But on the other, it’s been frustrating because of the injury and suspension.
“After this game I can try and work myself back into the team and hopefully will be fine for the rest of the season.
“My knee feels fine after the operation. I’ve got to continue doing my rehab work but as long as I look after it I’ll be okay.
“As for the bookings, I’m not a dirty player – I don’t go out to hurt anyone or anything like that. I’ve never had more than six bookings in a whole season before.
“Maybe it’s because this is the first time I’ve played right-back for six years and I’ve been having to learn the position again.
“I’ve just got to be more aware of things on the pitch and not get booked as much.”
Keane, signed on a Bosman from Luton last summer, saw his season stall in November.
He damaged the cartilage in his right knee against Notts County – the Magpies are PNE’s opponents at Meadow Lane on Tuesday night.
His return to action came as a late substitute in Graham Westley’s final game against Yeovil.
And John Dreyer restored him to the starting XI for the 2-0 win over Bournemouth.
Keane said: “I damaged the outside of the cartilage, which takes longer to recover from than if you do the inside.
“I didn’t expect to be back quite as soon as I was – I’d marked down the end of February to play again.
“Needs must – the manager got sacked and John Dreyer asked me whether I could play against Bournemouth.
“I told him I’d give it a go and see how long I would last.
“Fortunately I ended up playing the whole game. I think you get a bit of extra energy if you’re winning.
“I took a bit of a risk and it thankfully paid off.”
Meanwhile, PNE left-back David Buchanan hopes to nail down a regular place in Simon Grayson’s plans.
The former Tranmere defender was in and out of the team under Westley and felt the former manager lost confidence in him.
Buchanan said: “Since the new gaffer came in, I just feel like I’m playing with a bit more freedom.
“His style of play suits my style and I’m playing with more confidence.
“I’m an experienced player and under the previous gaffer I understood everything that he wanted of me.
“I just don’t think he rated me as a player as much as when he first brought me to the club – it’s as simple as that.”