Gary McSheffrey admits he is effectively playing for his future after finally putting his injury hell behind him.
The 34-year-old forward has made a series of impressive cameo appearances since returning to action last month following a long term knee injury.
McSheffrey is out of contract in the summer and has revealed how his prolonged absence has had a knock-on effect on his contractual situation.
“At the end of the day there’s worse off people out there than me,” he told The Star.
“I had a deal where on a certain amount of appearances a second year would’ve automatically kicked in.
“Obviously being injured for so long I can’t make that mathematically.
“Whatever minutes I get I’m just trying to make an impact, fit into the team and do myself justice.
“In a way you can say I’m playing for my future,” he added.
“It’d be lovely to stay here. I’ve settled up here now, me and my partner have had a child. It’s where I want to be so it would be nice.
“I feel like I’ve been robbed of nine or ten months of my career but I feel fresh now and feel like I can offer a lot.”
McSheffrey was injured at the end of last season. He returned to training in September but when the problem persisted he was then told by a surgeon in London that more surgery was required.
“It’s been a bit of a nightmare,” he said.
“I just had a niggling injury which for a while was just a rest and rehab thing and it should heal from there.
“I obviously did it last season but when I came back to pre-season to test it, it just wasn’t feeling right.
“I had a series of injections to try and regenerate some tissue repair, got dead close, I was training with the lads and was pencilled in for a resevere game and then for whatever reason it just went again.
“That was in September so I still had a whole season ahead of me. That’s when I went to see a surgeon in London and they’ve seen something on a scan which has probably been missed on an earlier one.
“He saw that the ligament had come away from the bone so it needed to be reattached. That was another four-to-five month process.
“So, yes, it’s been frustrating but the lads have done great. I’ve watched nearly every game and it’s nice to be finally back now and contributing.”