Matt Fish is ready to put his injury pain to bed and promised: I’m fitter than ever.
Pompey’s loan arrival from Gillingham believes being sidelined for a season with a knee injury has only strengthened his resolve to succeed in football.
Fish spent virtually all of the last campaign battling the anterior cruciate problem, after rupturing the ligament on the opening day.
That proved a testing time for the right-back as he went through a gruelling period of rehabilitation.
Fish admitted the problems could have broken some people, with nagging doubts about recovering emerging.
But the 25-year-old is confident the problem is now firmly in the past.
Fish said: ‘It was the first game of the season against Colchester.
‘I twisted in the ground and my knee stayed where it was.
‘It was in the first five minutes and I hadn’t even touched the ball.
‘But going through that has held me in good stead.
‘I’ve come out of the other side of that mentally stronger and physically stronger, as well.
‘I know a few people who could crumble in that situation.
‘But I had good people around and good people to help me out.
‘There was my family and friends there to support me through it. I can leave that in the past now. I hardly ever feel my knee now at all, so I know I’ve done things right.
‘Everything has cleared up and I’m probably fitter now than when I did my knee.’
Fish has made an encouraging start to his time at Pompey after arriving from Priestfield.
The former Crystal Palace trainee has showcased a willingness to get forward in his two games since being brought in by Andy Awford.
It’s been a stop-start time for him but, after recovering under the guidance of Gills physio Gary Hemens, Fish now feels he has momentum.
His deal with Pompey runs until January 1.
Fish explained he is keeping his options open when it comes to his future plans.
He said the focus is firmly on getting his own season, along with Pompey’s, moving in the mean time.
Fish said: ‘I’m just coming out to get some games.
‘It’s until January 1 and then we’ll go from there.
‘I had a really good season at Gills and then I had a good pre-season but did my knee.
‘That’s all sorted out now, though. And that’s why I’ve come out to get games.
‘Obviously I came back pre-season but things didn’t work out. Then I got a little injury.
‘But I’m looking to get back to playing games.
‘I had really good physio at Gills and I have to thank my physio there for helping me back.
‘He looked after me really well. I’ve kept myself going where I haven’t been playing and I am quite naturally fit anyway.
‘Now I’m just raring to go.’