James Hanson believes he can finally put the pain game behind him.
A promising first year in the third tier has been disrupted in the past couple of months by a nagging issue with his lower back and groin.
The inflammation had been bothering Hanson for a while but built up as he tried to carry on playing through.
It inevitably reached the point where he needed a break – and he has started only once in the last seven games.
But both club and player believe they have finally got to the root of the discomfort. And Hanson, who hopes to return against Crawley tomorrow, is confident that there will be no repeat next season.
“It’s just a little problem I’ve got to get over,” he said. “I’ll strengthen up in the summer and take whatever I need to get right for next season.
“The past four or five weeks have been frustrating but we think we’ve found the cause.
“Before, it was a short-term injection which allowed me to play. Now we’ve got to look to the future and maybe some medication will help.
“I don’t want to be missing days here and there when we go back to pre-season. That’s the worst time of the year to miss so I need to get that right.
“I’ve had a lot of inflammation which can happen anywhere in the body. But it’s linked to the psoriasis I’ve got and even my knee’s been swelling up.
“It’s been there this past six months. I’ve played with little niggles and it’s just gradually got worse.
“So it was nice in a way to have a little break and get my body right.”
But the unexpected break seems to have cost Hanson his ambition of topping the 15-goal tally he notched during last season’s promotion.
A scoring spurt in the wake of strike partner Nahki Wells joining Huddersfield took him up to 12 before the pain became too restrictive.
He added: “I was scoring quite a few and hopeful of getting at least 15. But it doesn’t help when you miss five or six games.
“Hopefully I’m back for the last two now and I can get some more. You never know, it would be a great time to get my first hat-trick for the club!
“But I’m quite pleased with the goals return for my first season in League One and in a few of the games I probably wasn’t right to play.
“So overall, when I’ve been fit I think I’ve scored quite a few. Hopefully I can build on that for next year.”
Hanson last scored at Valley Parade on March 1 in the Stevenage defeat.
City’s win over play-off bound Peterborough on Good Friday was their first at home since then. The centre forward admits it is important that they sign off in front of the supporters with the same sort of effort.
And with so many deals up within the squad, it could be a farewell to Valley Parade for some.
Hanson, who signed a new long-term deal earlier in the season, said: “The pressure is off us now so the players need to put on a big performance for the last home game of the season. We want to send the crowd home happy.
“There are also a lot of players out of contract. We don’t know what’s going to happen with them so it will be nice for them to get a send off as well.”