MARK Quigley believes that he has a lot more to offer the League of Ireland - and also has a point to prove after a succession of disappointing seasons.
And the 29-year-old is this week stepping up his recovery from a back complaint which at one point threatened to finish his career, the much-travelled striker hoping to prove his fitness and win a contract for an 11th season of LOI football.
Quigley was on the books at St Patrick's Athletic last term but at season's end, when the Saints landed the FAI Cup and also secured a top-three finish in the league, he played no part as he was sidelined by a back problem. But an operation on a disc in his back has been successful - rugby internationals Paul O'Connell and Rob Kearney had a similar procedure on their back injuries - and now the former U21 cap is aiming to make his mark next season.
"I have just turned 29 and I know I have a good few years left in me, I just need to show that to people but I do have a point to prove as the last few seasons haven't gone well for me," Quigley told The Herald..
"I was in to see the surgeon on Monday for my six-week check-up and he was delighted with how it has gone so I got the ok to start training again and I was able to do some running yesterday, it feels great to be doing something again. If the surgery hadn't worked, I would have been struggling. If I kept on the way I was going it would have been hard even to walk, it wasn't a case of preserving my career but even everyday life would have been difficult with the pain.
"So I had to get that operation done but it went well and the surgeon is delighted with it. There was a disc trapped in the nerve and that was causing a lot of pain, but it's cleared up now. Paul O'Connell and Rob Kearney had the same problem and they are back playing, battering people again in their matches so I know that you can come back from this."
He's been around for a long time - he made his debut in senior football with Millwall back in 2004 - but Quigley is still only 29, yet he has struggled to settle since he ended a four-year stint with Pats in 2009, playing for five different clubs over the last five seasons. "It's been disheartening, midway though last season I was honestly thinking about packing it in," he says. "I did my back on the first day pre-season and it was a battle after that. I missed the Cup final and the end of the season so all that was disappointing.
"I spoke to Liam Buckley around two weeks ago and we are due to speak again. One or two other clubs have been in contact and have expressed an interest, so we will see what happens."