The last time Fleetwood Town visited Southend United, keeper Alex Cairns was facing his first real battle after losing his place to Chris Neal.
Eight months and two head coaches later, the 25-year-old heads to Southend with the number one shirt, the backing of head coach Joey Barton and the belief he is the best in the division.
Cairns had lost his place under Rosler after Town’s 2-0 defeat to Gillingham on December 22.
Town’s form briefly improved when Neal returned but the results soon dipped.
Their 2-1 win at Southend in mid-January was to be the last three points of Uwe Rosler’s reign, and by February, Cairns was back in goal.
Rosler, however, was to lose his job soon after with John Sheridan coming in to steer Town to safety.
Cairns is revelling in life under Barton and thanked goalkeeping coach David Lucas for helping him during that time out of the team.
Now the keeper heads to Roots Hall on the back of a widely-viewed save at Sunderland and a man-of-the-match award for his heroics in Town’s 1-1 draw with Accrington Stanley last time out.
He said: “The time out of the side benefited me.
“Dave Lucas has been absolutely fantastic for me, on and off the field.
“I spoke to him at the end of last season and said ‘thank you for that year’, especially the time that I was out of the team because he really put his arm round me.
“Sometimes you need that. It was the first time I really had any adversity in my career so to go out of the team and come back was definitely a learning curve for me.
“I will look back on that and see that as a learning point for me.
“I know my personal goals and the teams: we want to be as high up the table as we can.
“We have got to be aiming high. If we don’t aim high, what is the point of playing football?
“You want to get wins or points on the board. We got a point at Accrington, now we move on.”
Barton thinks Cairns is the best in the division and the keeper is not disagreeing with that statement.
However, he stressed the need to keep his standards high and improve if he wants to remain number one.
He said: “If the manager thinks that, I’m going to think that myself.
“We have got a great group of lads here, they are honest, hard working and will only be beneficial for us in the future,
“You always want the backing of your manager.
“I need to put the performances on the pitch to make sure I am number one and I stay number one.”
“I’m going to carry on doing that.”