After 14 weeks on the sidelines, Paul McManus hopes he can contribute to Cove Rangers’ bid to retain the Highland League title.
The veteran striker returned from an ankle injury as a late substitute in Saturday’s 1-0 win over Inverurie.
It has been a frustrating period for the former East Fife, Raith Rovers, Forfar and Arbroath frontman.
On his comeback, the 36-year-old said: “It was tough when I went on because I had been out for 14 weeks.
“To be honest, I hadn’t really been able to run until last week. Every time I had tried running on my ankle it had just locked. I was told it was the pins locking.
“I did my medial ligament, which came off the bone and then it meant there was a bit of bone floating about my ankle.
“I got an injection to calm it down, but hopefully that is the end of the injury and I can move on from here.
“The injection was a one-off and it was recommended to me because it was supposed to be an eight-12-week timeframe with the ligament coming off but it had been 14 weeks and they said it was inflamed, so the injection was just to calm the nerves down.
“I’ve done a week’s training with East Fife. They allowed me to train with them last week and on Thursday I didn’t feel like I had been out for that long.
“I know how to get back fit and I will get back fit, because any time I have been out long-term I have looked after myself.”
Despite McManus’s absence, Cove are still five points clear at the top of the table as they look to retain the Highland League title.
McManus hopes the experience in John Sheran’s squad can help the Granite City outfit do that.
He added: “We’re not talking about titles at the moment because it is even tougher than last year.
“Brora look like the team to beat just now and we’ve got a big game against them coming up.
“It will not be easy and comfortable like it was last season. But the whole team has experience, there’s boys who have played in the lower leagues and had experience of the SPFL and the play-offs.
“There is experience through the team and then you see young Hamish MacLeod, who started on Saturday and I thought he had a great game.”
McManus, who lives in Fife, is grateful to former club East Fife for allowing him to train with them.
He said: “With East Fife I travel to the Oriam in Edinburgh on a Tuesday and Thursday and train with them. It’s hard for me to get up to Aberdeen after work, but I’ve trained with them last season and this season so I’m thankful to Darren Young for that.
“I stay in Fife and because I’ve had four spells at East Fife I’ve worked with a lot of managers and they have been happy to let me come back and train.
“East Fife see that I can help their young players as well so it works for both of us.”