Swansea City winger Kevin McLeod has revealed he never gave up hope of making the League One play-off final despite breaking his ankle last month.
McLeod has made a remarkable return to fitness
"My first thought was my season was over - might as well get the deck-chair out and put my feet up," he said.
"But then I thought no, it's not going to get the better of me so I tried to keep on the move as much as I could.
"The play-off final was always my aim and the gaffer said I'd be welcomed back if I made it. I'm over the moon."
McLeod's return to the Swansea squad to face Barnsley at the Millennium Stadium is doubly remarkable considering he was told in March he had no future at the club.
The former Everton trainee fell out with manager Kenny Jackett over after a late-night drinking session.
It was just another hurdle I had to get over
Swansea's Kevin McLeod on his injury
Jackett accused the 25-year-old of "not showing enough application" and advised him to find another club.
But McLeod won a late-season reprieve and impressed in two games as he added some much-needed balance to the Swans' left-hand side.
Then came another hammer blow when he was stretchered off in the 2-2 draw with Southend on 29 April.
"It was just another hurdle I had to get over. You never know what's around the corner for you," McLeod told BBC Wales Sport.
"But I just put the play-off final in my head. I aimed for that and just waited to see how far I could go.
"If I could hit it on the head, then perfect. That's what has happened so it's perfect."
McLeod, who is likely going to have to settle for a place on the Swansea substitute bench, has prior experience of a Football League play-off final.
My aim is to get into the Championship with Swansea and become a bigger club than Cardiff City
He was part of the Queens Park Ranger side that lost to Cardiff City in the 2003 Division Two play-off final after extra time.
The night before, he and his team-mates were awoken in the early hours when a Cardiff supporter set off a fire alarm at their team hotel.
McLeod stressed the incident had no barring on the result, but he could not resist the temptation of having a dig at Cardiff by claiming Swansea would soon overshadow their bitter rivals.
"My aim is to get into the Championship with Swansea and become a bigger club than Cardiff City," he said.
"When I played at the Millennium Stadium for QPR against Cardiff, they had 35,000 fans and that was on their doorstep.
"But I look at Swansea and we've already sold 32,000 tickets and they're still selling, so in my eyes, I think we are bigger, full stop.
"We've got a better ground and hopefully, touch wood if we beat Barnsley, then we'll be in the Championship and you'll see who has the better team.
"And I think at the end of the day that we've got a better team and the better fans."