Lukas Jutkiewicz has declared himself fit and ready to boost Middlesbrough's promotion bid this season.
The 23-year-old joined Boro from Coventry in January but has not yet featured this season as he feels his way back from a cartilage operation in the summer.
But Jutkiewicz scored the winning goal in an Under-21 friendly against Hull City at Rockliffe Park last week to herald his return to fitness and admits it is a great feeling to be back in action.
"It was brilliant to be back," Jutkiewicz told Middlesbrough's official website.
"It was my first match since the Watford game at the end of last season, so it's been about four months since I played a competitive game.
"Even though it was an Under-21 friendly, it was good to be able to play and score a goal.
"I've been itching to get back and I really enjoyed it.
"That's what you focus on when you first get injured, you look to the time when you'll be able to play again and I was really excited to be back out there."
The forward is grateful to Boro boss Tony Mowbray for not putting pressure on him as he eases his way back to full fitness.
Jutkiewicz added: "He's not put any pressure on me to get fit faster than I needed to, he just wants me to be in good shape to compete for the squad and hopefully I can do that and get into the side."