Birmingham full-back Stephen Carr is relishing a return to the Premier League after coming out of retirement to sign for the Blues.
The former Republic of Ireland international retired in December 2008 after receiving no suitable offers as a free agent following his release by Newcastle last summer.
However, Birmingham boss Alex McLeish offered the 32-year-old a way back into football when he took the defender on trial in February this year.
After impressing on initial short term contracts, Carr was rewarded with a new two-year deal and will become a Premier League player once again next term, much to his delight.
"I've got another opportunity, one that I have to admit I never thought would come again when I retired last year because there was no-one interested in me," said Carr.
"It will be great to play in the Premier League again and I'm very grateful to the club for giving me that chance.
"Football can be funny like that. One minute there are no offers at all on the table and then the next I'm preparing for Premier League football again."
Birmingham suffered their second successive defeat on their pre-season schedule after going down 2-0 to German second division side Augsburg last time out.
Carr is aware that the squad need to be sharper come their season opener against champions Manchester United, but insists their preparations have only just begun.
"At this stage of pre-season it's all about getting the minutes in. Of course, we want to win too and that's why it was disappointing to lose to Augsburg," said Carr.
"There's no doubt the fact that they were playing their fifth pre-season match and us only our second was a factor in terms of sharpness.
"But quality has to be better from us and that's what we'll be looking for come Sunday when we play our next game (versus Al Hilal)."