West Ham United midfielder Gary O'Neil has expressed his delight in reaching Wembley for the Championship play-off final against Blackpool following injury heartache.
The 28-year-old was close to hanging up his boots for good last year after snapping his ankle ligaments and suffering a complication in surgery.
Despite fears that he would never grace the field again, O'Neil has admitted that he is savouring every moment since his return.
"I am just so pleased to be out there," the Daily Star quotes O'Neil as saying. "I didn't think I was going to play again at the end of last season, so I am just delighted to be back involved.
"I can't believe how many games I have played and I have been really lucky. The ankle is nowhere near as good as it was, but I don't think it limits me that much.
"There is a bit of pain and it takes a bit of time to recover. Sometimes when the games are close I struggle and I couldn't train between the two semi-finals."
O'Neil, who could line up for Sam Allardyce at Wembley this Saturday, has made 19 appearances for the Hammers this season.