Rotherham United captain Lee Frecklington has put his injury problems firmly behind him to focus on a hectic run of fixtures as the festive season approaches.
The games come quickly through December and the New Year, and the midfielder has only just returned to the first team following a two-and-a-half-month absence with a calf problem.
But he says he’s back in prime condition after featuring in the Millers’ last three Championship matches.
“I’m ready for two games a week,” he said. “I’ve played three games now. I feel fine. I feel fit.”
Frecklington has been a key man since making his comeback against Leeds United on November 21 and the Millers have taken six points out of a possible nine.
Momentum stalled with the 2-1 defeat at home to Wolves last Saturday, but Rotherham are now only a point away from climbing out of the drop zone.
“I’d been very pleased in last two games before Wolves, obviously because we won,” he said. “I’d also been happy with my own performances in those.”
The Millers travel to Blackburn Rovers on Friday and then have a trip to Huddersfield Town on Tuesday, before a home clash with Hull City next Saturday wraps up the pre-Christmas programme.
They then play Bolton Wanderers at AESSEAL New York Stadium on Boxing Day before away matches at Fulham and Preston North End complete a festive programme of three games in eight days.
The skipper was less happy with his display against Wolves but gave his all, as he always does.
“I thought I was sloppy at times,” admitted the 30-year-old who trained three times a day under fitness coach Paul Warne to speed up his comeback.
“But I have been out for a long time and I’m going to have games where I’m not at the level I want to be. I’ll always work hard, I’ll always try my best, and that’s the minimum you can give.”
Frecklington hurt his calf in his first game as captain, at Charlton in September, and hoped to be back inside a month.
“I got back training in three weeks and did it again in training,” he revealed. “It was the exact same injury twice, a calf tear both times.”
The club’s longest-serving player, after two wins in three matches, is now concentrating on the Friday-night clash at Ewood Park.
“Most people would have taken six points from three games,” he said, “We’re disappointed after Wolves, but you can’t get too disheartened. The games come thick and fast at this time of year so we’ve got to move on.”
Meanwhile, former Rotherham boss Steve Evans wants people “to let the football speak” when the Millers face his new club, Leeds United, in the FA Cup third round in January
Rotherham won 1-0 at Leeds in the league last month, and Evans feels too much attention was placed on the fact he was up against the club he used to manage and Millers boss Neil Redfearn was returning to Elland Road where he was head coach last season.
“The way the FA Cup works, this one was probably in the stars. It’s got a habit of throwing up games like this,” said Evans.
“There’s significance in the tie, clearly there is, but this time I’d hope the focus on things away from the pitch will subside.
“Neil’s been back to his old club, I’ve been up against my old club, a lot’s been said and written and maybe this time we can let the football speak.”