Derby day hero Gary Madine has thanked the medical team at Blackpool for helping him get match fit.
The striker scored his first goal in nine months on Saturday as Blackpool recorded a 2-0 win against Preston North End at Bloomfield Road.
Madine has endured an injury-plagued 2021 with a groin injury, which required surgery during the summer.
Gary Madine is congratulated by team boss Neil Critchley after Saturday’s derby win
The former Cardiff City and Sheffield Wednesday man revealed he was close to calling it a day at one point.
Madine said: “I’m buzzing. I’m buzzing for the gaffer (Neil Critchley), buzzing for the fans and the lads because we worked so hard.
“I think that’s us joint-fifth now and on another note, I’d like to thank the medical team because I’ve had a tough year injury-wise.
“I had an operation but they’ve kept me going and they’ve managed to get me back playing when I thought I was close to not being able to get back, so I’m grateful to the doctor, the physio and the surgeon.”
Madine was first sidelined at the end of January, and though his groin injury wasn’t thought to be serious at first, he didn’t return until the final game of the regular season against Bristol Rovers.
Having gone under the knife after Blackpool’s play-off final win, when he appeared off the bench, Madine didn’t make his first appearance this season until mid-September.
“It was horrible,” Madine said of his injury lay-off.
“I was going for scans all the time. I was thinking I was getting back fit and then I’d hurt it again, I’d have another setback, I’d see the surgeon again. It was never-ending.
“Even now, it was hurting a couple of days ago, but I’m grateful to the medical team for giving me the right treatment and right rehab programme.”
Blackpool’s supporters were understandably frustrated by the length of time it was taking Madine to get back to fitness during the second half of last season.
It even resulted in rumours circulating that the forward had fallen out with Neil Critchley and was in dispute with the club over his contract.
Responding to those claims, Madine concluded: “I pulled the media team one day and asked if they could interview me because apparently I’d had a bust-up with the gaffer!
“That was so far from the truth. I’ve got too much respect for the man to fall out with him so it was definitely a groin injury.
“I’ve got the scar there to prove it, although you probably don’t want to see that.”