AFC Fylde star Henry Jones insists he is fit and raring to go after recovering from a knee injury.
The 24-year-old attacker joined the club in the summer after stealing the show in the Welsh Premier League, however his fine start to the campaign was cut short in mid-November.
Jones, who scored four goals in ten starts before injury struck, required surgery on a niggling knee problem but is now eager to prove his worth.
Jones said: “I first did it in pre-season in the friendly against Morecambe. I just felt something in my knee. I played through it for about a month but I just couldn’t carry on that way so I had a scan and I’d torn the cartilage down the side of my knee.
“I wanted to get it fixed so I could get back to playing how I want to play.
“My recovery has been good. I was walking after two or three days after the operation and then back on the bike a week after that. Within four weeks I was back running.
“Rehab is always quite hard because you can’t replicate what you do on the pitch in the gym. It takes a little time, even when you are fit, to get back to being ‘match fit’. I need to get some games under my belt.
“I’ve never had a problem with my knee before, touchwood, so I was a bit surprised when it happened so easily. I just changed direction and felt it go.
“I have had very few injury problems in the past and to be back within six weeks of an operation is pretty good.
Jones arrived a Mill Farm with rave reviews and is now keen to show the fans what he can do.
“I started the season pretty well,” added Jones. “I don’t feel like I was playing my best football but I was scoring goals. So to get injured was frustrating, especially for someone like me because I’m not good at playing through pain!
“It’s all about looking forward now. My knee is fixed and I can’t wait to get back to playing.
“I am back to full fitness and my match fitness is coming along. I’ve played a couple of game – a behind closed doors game against Preston North End and the cup game against Oldham on Tuesday – so I’m getting close.
“It felt really good to get back out there. I got myself on the scoresheet against Oldham and that’s what I like to do.
“I want to score goals and create as many chances as I can or I don’t feel like I’m doing my job. I made a good start on Tuesday and hopefully I can replicate that in the league now.
“I really miss it when I’m not playing. Having to watch the team play on a Saturday is difficult for me, so it’s down to me to get back into the team.”
Jones faces some stiff competition for a place at the top end of the pitch with Danny Rowe, Jack Muldoon and Jonny Smith firing on all cylinders, however he isn’t in the mood for waiting around.
“When you don’t have competition you get complacent. It’s good for me and James (Hardy) to be pushing the lads that have the shirt at the moment.
“They will have to be at their best and that can only be good for the whole team.
“We will need everyone because we have had a lot of games. Players will inevitably get tired through busy Decembers and Januarys and now that a couple of us are coming back at the same time, it will hopefully give the manager a bit of a headache.
“I’ve wasted enough time now. I haven’t got time to bide. I have to get in as quickly as possible and show what I can do, but at the end of the day it’s not really about me, it’s about the team.
“If the team are picking up points without me then great. But I want to be one of the eleven out there helping to achieve that.
“The fans haven’t seen the best of me yet, but I know what I can do and I know what I’m capable of. I don’t too get frustrated because football is football and different things crop up. You get injured, you play, you don’t play – it is what it is.
“However, if I can get back in the team then I’ll show what I’m all about.”
The Coasters sensational seven-game unbeaten run came to a halt at Woking last Saturday but Jones believes the tag of ‘favourites’ against Eastleigh this weekend shows how far his side have come.
Jones said: “They are a tough team to play against and they have spent a fair bit of money on some decent players, but I think they are slightly underachieving with the resources they have available.
“I would always expect Eastleigh to be towards the top of the league but they haven’t quite managed that yet.
“I’d be disappointed if we didn’t beat them, even though we are the team that has been promoted going up against an established club like Eastleigh. I think that says a lot about how far we have come.
“Plus, I scored in the away game at Eastleigh and hopefully I can do that again!”