Anton Forrester admits that it has been ‘really tough’ mentally over the last 12 months having to deal with injury setbacks and missing out on a lot of football, but he is delighted to be back.
After signing for Vale in the summer of 2016, the 23-year-old started life in Burslem with a goal on his home debut, but injuries have meant that appearances have been limited.
The striker is back in contention for a place again after his latest muscle problem, with a number of reserve team games now under his belt, along with a substitute appearance during the FA Cup victory over Oxford United last time out.
“I came back from my hamstring injury and then, I was feeling good and then I broke down again with my quad,” explained Forrester.
“It’s really tough mentally, but I’m starting to cope with it now because I’ve had so many injuries.
“But, I’m starting to feel like I’m getting back to my best now - I just need match fitness.
“Hopefully I can stay fit and push on.”
Despite the frustration of being sidelined for a lengthy period of time, the forward is grateful to the medical staff at the club for nurturing him back to fitness.
He said: “They have been really good with me to be honest and we are friends too which definitely helps you through it.
“Hopefully I can now get playing more regularly, score a goal and get my confidence back.
“Sometimes I’m scared that I will break down again so it’s on my mind, but hopefully I can get beyond that.
“I know I’m strong enough to get through it.”
Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy clash with Crewe Alexandra could provide the perfect opportunity for the striker to open his goal scoring tally, and he insists that finding that first will give him a massive confidence boost.
“It would make a big difference to me,” he said.
“I just need a goal and then I’ll go on a run and start scoring again.
“Any competition is a big one really, but this one gives you the chance to play at Wembley and everyone wants to do that - we’ve all got to be at 100 per cent.”
On the manager, he added: “Neil Aspin didn’t get to see me when he first came in, but he’s been good with me and he has told me that he believes in me so it’s great when a manager does that.
“We had a meeting and it was reassuring, to know that he is looking at me, that’s what I needed really.”