His career has been hampered by injury problems but Fleetwood Town’s latest debutant James Wallace says his fitness woes are in the past as he starts a new chapter under boss Joey Barton.
Barton has been coaching the midfielder to have a positive mental attitude when it comes to injuries, though Wallace admitted he was frustrated at being unable to play before making his debut in the 4-0 League Cup defeat at Leicester City on Tuesday.
Wallace, 26, joined last month after his Tranmere Rovers contract expired.
The midfielder missed Rovers’ National League play-off final win over Boreham Wood at Wembley and has been building up his fitness over the summer at Fleetwood.
After proving his fitness during trials with Town, the Liverpudlian signed a short-term deal but has had to be patient, again due to injury.
In the nine seasons since making his debut for Everton in a Europa League clash at Czech club Sigma Olomouc in 2009, Wallace has never managed to play more than 23 games in a season due to injury.
Now after a two-year, 12-game spell with Tranmere, Wallace is back in League One and raring to go, after Barton gave the ex-Sheffield United, Stockport County and Shrewsbury man a new training regime.
Wallace is now looking ahead and hoping to be in contention for Town’s home clash with Bradford on Saturday.
Speaking about his injury problems, he said: “It is in the past. Positive mental attitude as the gaffer says.
“We don’t talk about that anymore. Those dark places are gone.
“We are not allowed to talk about that no more. The gaffer has barred me!
“He has given me a new regime, and it has got me on the pitch and it is working.
“It is obviously frustrating not being able to do your job when you are a footballer. But it is in the past. We go from here.”
Wallace was one of three Town debutants at Leicester, along with Under-18 captain James Hill and keeper Paul Jones, as Barton made 11 changes.
More changes can be expected for Saturday, with Barton set to revert to a side similar to that which drew 0-0 at Charlton last weekend.
Wallace is hopeful of being involved and is keen to play a part in a first home win of the season.
He said: “We need a win at home. We will have to dust ourselves down after Leicester, train well and steamroll them on Saturday.”