Keith Southern insists he’s ready for action for Fleetwood Town.
The 31-year-old former Blackpool ace played a full 90 minutes for Town’s reserves as they beat Tranmere Rovers 3-1 in the Final Third Development Cup at Highbury.
It was a second run out in eight days for Southern, who was also involved in last week’s reserves win over Morecambe.
And he believes he’s now ready to challenge for a place in Graham Alexander’s first team squad.
“I’ve trained really hard, I’m as fit now as I’ve ever been,” he said.
“I’ve done everything properly, my weight’s right.
“I’m sure my heart rate will prove I’ve got around the pitch pretty well.
“I’m sure when I’m needed I’ll come in and do a good job.”
Not that Southern believes he will walk into the team with Steven Schumacher playing well in his favoured holding midfield role.
But the summer capture, who was playing Championship football at Huddersfield last term, is ready to take his chance.
“You’ve got to wait for an opportunity and when you get one it’s about taking it,” he told The Gazette.
“All I can do is keep my body right, keep fit, keep up the same attitude I’ve always had and that chance will come sooner rather than later.”
It’s been a frustrating couple of months for Southern, who was one of Alexander’s key summer signings but has been sidelined by injury - undergoing a hernia operation after the start of the campaign.
But things are improving, even if Southern believes his progress could have been quicker.
He said:”I played 45 last week and I wanted to stay on and get another 20 or so under my belt.
“But the progression the manager and the physio want me to go on, the upward curve is 45.
“This one was minumum 60 but in the end I managed the 90 which I’m delighted about.”
And the midfielder is experienced enough to know football comes with ups and downs - the key is how you manage them.
He said:”Nobody wants to get injured in pre-season, that’s your bread and butter.
“You get your fitness then.
“But I’ve had enough ups and downs in life to know it’s not always going to go your way.
“It’s only been six or seven weeks, it’s not the end of the world.
“I’m back fit now and I’m ready to play.”
Southern knows there’s plenty of season left for him to make his mark at Highbury.
He’s now looking forward to making his mark under an ambitious manager, with Town perfectly poised to challenge in League One.
“We’ve played 10 or 11,” said Southern. “You could say we’re on the fringes of the play-offs but equally we’re only six or seven above the relegations spots.
“It is what it is. “It’s been a half decent start but that’s all.
“There’s a lot to look forward to at the football club.”