Mark Cullen says he is looking forward to doing all he can to help Blackpool steer clear of relegation danger this season after making his long-awaited return from injury.
The striker came off the bench during Monday’s 2-1 defeat at Oldham – his first appearance in more than seven months.
The 25-year-old has been sidelined since August and was forced to undergo hamstring surgery back in October.
It’s been a long, hard road to fitness for the forward, who insists he will do all he can in Blackpool’s final six games to keep them in the division – even if that means making the odd cameo appearance off the bench.
Cullen said: “It was a bit surreal really to be back involved after seven months out. It’s a long time.
“But being back out on that pitch is what I’ve been thinking about ever since I got injured, so to finally get back out there is great for me personally.
“It feels fine, so with another week’s training I can look forward to the weekend.
“I’ve been trying to get as fit as I can, and if I can help the team by playing five minutes or 10 minutes I’m ready, but it’s up to the gaffer.
“I’m dying to be a part of it and trying to help out.”
Cullen was Blackpool’s Wembley hero in last season’s League Two play-off final but he has endured a frustrating campaign this time out, making just four appearances.
He has been a big miss for the Seasiders but his manager Gary Bowyer is over the moon to have him back available for selection.
“I’m delighted for Mark. Mentally he’s been fantastic,” Bowyer said.
“He’s had ups and down but he’s stuck at it. He’s been desperate to play and he nearly got on the end of one on Monday as well.
“Having him back for these last six games is a massive boost for us because we’ve missed him.
“He’s a natural goalscorer and he can get hold of the ball up there.
“That’s what was missing from us a little bit in the second half against Oldham.
“We need someone to get hold of the ball so that we can get up the pitch.”
Northampton Town, who Blackpool face at Bloomfield Road next Tuesday, have sacked their manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
The former Chelsea striker was relieved of his duties after overseeing a nine-game winless run that left the Cobblers inside the League One relegation zone.
Assistant manager Dean Austin has been placed in caretaker charge for the rest of the season.