Peterhead manager Jim McInally is thrilled to have Andrew McCarthy back in the fold for tomorrow’s clash with East Fife.
The midfielder was suspended for last weekend’s loss to Partick Thistle.
McCarthy has become an influential figure for the Blue Toon this season, missing just three of their 21 matches so far this term.
When the 22-year-old former Partick Thistle and Queen of the South player arrived at Balmoor in January 2020, he was struggling for fitness and form.
But after improving his fitness during the first lockdown, McCarthy has been a player transformed this season.
McInally said: “Andy’s a big player for us now. He’s got himself in such a condition now that the minimum he gives you is his best.
“He gets about the park brilliantly and he’s going to become a better player as he gets older because of the level of fitness he’s got.
“He was a big loss to us last week, so it’s good to have him back.
“When he was at Partick Thistle breaking through he was probably as fit as he was now.
“He was playing in the Premiership and playing with better players and it was a great start to his career.
“It was a shame how things went downhill for him and there were reasons for that.
“If I ever need a reminder of where Andy was fitness-wise before, it was a game against Montrose last season when we could have subbed him in the first half.
“I had to sub him at half-time because he was that far off the pace, so to see where he is now is pretty remarkable.
“During the lockdown he managed to get things sorted out that were causing him problems.
“I know now that he goes running every day and he does coaching as well.
“He’s got himself in a good place and long may that continue.”
With two games left before the League One split, Peterhead are seventh in the table, not yet safe from relegation, but also not out of the running for a place in the top half.
However, if the Blue Toon are to bid for the top five, McInally knows victory is required against East Fife at Bayview.
He added: “They’re unbeaten at home this season in the league which shows how tough it’s going to be.
“For us it’s about cutting out the mistakes and staying in games.
“People will look at last Saturday and think we were well beaten by a team far superior.
“But if we don’t make those mistakes (for the second and third goals), you don’t know where the game could go.
“As soon as you shoot yourselves in the foot, it becomes very hard.
“It’s a case of hanging in there and giving yourself the best chance, and we know if we can get a result tomorrow we’re back in among the sides trying to get in the top half.
“We haven’t given up on that yet and you never should give up on something until it’s impossible.”