Striker Danny Rose says he's pleased to be back in the fray at Mansfield Town following an horrific injury, and that he's determined to play his part in helping the Stags get promoted.
Rose suffered a double break of his jaw, severed an artery and lost a tooth during the match at Newport County in February, requiring metal plates to be inserted into his jawbone.
But having returned to the squad for the trip to Exeter, Rose has been gradually returning to full fitness and says he is happy to be featuring once again.
He said: "It’s been good to be back involved. Obviously the injury wasn’t ideal at the time and it was a long two months out for me, especially as I didn’t really feel injured at the time given I felt fit and could run, I just couldn’t do contact football.
“To not be involved in training was difficult and although I did a lot of rehab sessions which were brilliant, it’s great to return for the last four games of the season.
“The jaw is fine now and I feel good. I’ve had a few challenges in the games I’ve played, and against a few big centre-halves, that have felt alright.
“There’s still a little bit of doubt but I just want to give 100 per cent now and I can’t think about the injury while I’m playing. I can’t think about challenges and need to go in full force otherwise I won’t be able to play.
“Ryan Sweeney got me in a headlock during training which helped sort me out so fair play to him!”
Rose admitted that there have been one or two occasions where the injury has subconsciously played a part in his decision-making, particularly in missing a late chance at Northampton last week.
He added: "I think looking back at it now it sat up a bit for my head but at the time I thought I’d try and volley it in but it wasn’t to be. There was a bit of doubt there given the injury that happened and I wasn’t fully confident, but looking back now I should probably have gone with my head. These things happen though and I just want to move on."
Reflecting on the season as a whole, Rose admits it's been a tough one for him on various levels.
He said: “It’s not been a great season for me both in terms of form and injuries. I’ve not been good enough this season compared to last but I’ve got to give 100 per cent now over the next four games and try and get Mansfield over the line.
“I know I can still play a huge part. I just need to forget about the season I’ve had so far and look forward to these final games.
“This is the most exciting run-in I’ve had here. There’s a lot on the line, promotion is one of the best prizes in League Two so we are full of confidence going into the Morecambe game and hoping to pick up three points.
“I’m really excited. It’s been brilliant to have been back involved since the Exeter game and I hope to be in the last four games.
“I’m past the stage now where I’ll set any individual targets. We’re at that time of the season where individual talent and who scores don’t matter, just as long as we get over the line and get Mansfield up to League One.
“If I want to get in the starting line-up I need to prove my fitness and work hard in training, then come on and make an impact when asked. In the last couple of games I’ve not made as much of an impact as I’d have liked, but I’m getting my legs back now and hopefully I can make much more of an impression in the coming games.”
Looking ahead to the game at home to Morecambe on Friday, Rose says Stags can take nothing for granted despite their opponents having relatively little to play for.
He said: “They’re very unpredictable. They can be very good on the day and I don’t think they have much to play for now that they seem to be safe from relegation, so hopefully they’re not going to turn up and spoil the party, although Crewe came here in similar circumstances and made it very hard for us.
“Sometimes teams with not as much to play for can be that bit more relaxed and without fear but it’s not about what they’re going to do on the day, it’s about what we do.
“I think if we start well and get ahead then I don’t think they’ll fancy it.
“The pressure we are under is good – I can think of a lot worse pressures to be under in football like if you’re at the other end of the table fighting for your Football League status.
“We’ve got a very good opportunity to get into the top three and get into League One now.
“The dressing room is full of confidence. We’re unbeaten in three now so we’ll face Morecambe full of belief ahead of another massive game at Oldham on Monday.”