Stoke defender Danny Higginbotham is looking to the future after a morale-boosting loan spell at Nottingham Forest.
The 33-year-old defender has returned to the Potters after playing six times during his 10 weeks at the City Ground.
He has returned early following a recent injury and because Forest boss Steve Cotterill wants to play his out-of-contract players.
But the game time has proved a huge boost to Higginbotham, who believes he is now recapturing the form he had before last year's cruciate knee ligament injury.
The defender told The Sentinel: "I feel much better, physically and psychologically, after getting a few games.
"However long you are out, that's how long it takes to get back to what you were.
"And now I feel like I'm getting back to how I was before the injury."
Higginbotham, who has a year remaining on his contract with the Potters, is ruled out of their five remaining top-flight games after not being named in Tony Pulis' 25-man squad.
He added: "I've got a year left here and you just don't know what will happen. You want to be playing, but ultimately that's something that will be decided for me.
"I'd love to stay, but if you're not playing it can be frustrating. Your career is soon over and you want to play in as many games as you can while you can.
"In the short term, I'll train with the rest of the lads this season to keep my fitness up.
"And because I had so long out with the injury, I'll probably have just a week or two to myself in the summer to make sure I'm ready to go for pre-season training."