David Meyler is desperate to boost his match fitness and become a key cog in Sunderland's starting XI.
The Wearside midfielder suffered a career-threatening injury when he seriously damaged knee ligaments against Manchester United in May.
Meyler made his second start of the season in the Black Cats' home defeat to Blackpool on Tuesday and the Irish schemer is keen to regain the form that saw him rise to prominence last term.
Meyler, who is in line to start against Blackburn on Saturday, told The Shields Gazette: "Every minute counts for me, and I'm just glad to be back.
"I hadn't played in seven and a half months and every little bit helps. I'm just fortunate where I am, and the support I've had with the family I've got, and everyone pushing me on.
"The amount of people I could thank is unbelievable, especially Dave Binningsley (Sunderland physio), who day by day pushed me on even more.
"During the long summer days when everyone was on holiday, I was in every day with 9am starts. Dave was there with me to help me through it.
"You just want to get back as quickly as you can without rushing it. I'm only a player, and the doctors and medical staff know what's best for me. I just want to get as many minutes as I can now."