THE daily training routine has not changed just because Filipe Morais remains without a club.

The former City winger has played only 45 minutes competitively in 2020 – and that was on New Year’s Day when he was subbed at half-time for Oldham against Scunthorpe.

While his two former clubs do FA Cup battle at Valley Parade, the 35-year-old will be kicking his heels in Harrogate.

But he remains convinced that the call will come to bring him back in from the cold.

Morais has been without a team since agreeing to cancel his contract at Crawley at the end of September. Having been on loan at Oldham last season, the 35-year-old wants to be based nearer his north Yorkshire home.

That is what drives him to get up every morning and keep himself in the best possible shape for that chance.

There have been a few offers already but geographically they were all too far away. But Morais is still confident the right opportunity will come.

“A lot of teams now are going into a really busy period and are starting to look at it again,” he said.

“I just think everything happens for a reason. If I keep working as hard as I can, something will come for me - I’m a big believer in that.

“When I speak to friends in the game who haven’t got a club, I tell them to keep motivated and stay fit. You’ve got to train with the belief that the phone could ring at any time.

“If you don’t train with that mindset, you would never be ready.”

Morais played 71 times and scored eight goals for City - most famously the Stamford Bridge equaliser - before being released in January 2017. He had been at Crawley for just over two years.

“If I wanted, I could have signed the next day for Crawley but I promised my family I would come home. That was the whole purpose of terminating things there.

“They were fantastic and I get on really well with the owners. They understood.

“I’ve got lots of other things going on like my academy but I still want to play. I feel great, I feel fit and I feel I’ve got a lot to offer.

“It’s not really about financial gain anymore and as we’ve said the money in the game is not really there.

“If I can stay home and keep on playing and give some of my experience back into the team whoever I join, I’m more than confident of contributing.

“It’s about being a bit more selective because I can be. I don’t just want to go to another club and see out my years - I want to actually achieve something.”

Stuart McCall has previously played down City’s interest in the free-agent market by questioning why they would want someone who had “sat on their backside for the last three months”.

Morais can see both sides to it.

“I get what he’s saying but managers also need to put themselves in the players’ shoes,” he added. “There’s not much you can do if a club can’t take you in to give you those games or pre-season.

“There are so many restrictions. A lot of managers were concerned about bringing people in because of COVID.

“If a player’s not in a club, it’s not because he fancied sitting at home. These are unprecedented times.

“It’s how you look at it. If I’m a manager, I’d be thinking ‘how can I get them in’.

“It’s probably not going to cost much. Players are desperate to get into clubs.

“Most realise now that the money isn’t there like before. They would be happy to train and prove themselves.

“If that’s for three or four weeks, then so be it. You’re not paying them anything.

“I would never take that negatively. In football you constantly have to prove yourself, there’s no right to anything.

“I’d be more than willing to do that for a decent club – where I could be home.

“I’m still motivated to play at a higher level. I’m not thinking I’m on the way down.

“I know where my body’s at and know I’ve still got it. If I didn’t, I’d be the first to put my hand up and go do something else.”

Age is just a number for Morais, who highlighted 41-year-old Kevin Ellison scoring the last-minute winner for League Two leaders Newport last week.

“Mentality is massive. For Kevin to still be doing what he’s doing, he has to be a great pro and train hard.

“You’ve got Matt Gilkes at Bolton coming in the team at 38. It shows how important experience is.

“It’s like anything in life. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, it’s very hard to keep motivated.

“A lot of players do just play football for a living. But those who really love it will find it easy to keep going.”