Jake Wright is hoping a full recovery from the injuries which blighted his performances in the spring will see him return to top form when the new season begins.
Oxford United’s captain, normally so reliable, made a series of uncharacteristic errors in the closing weeks of last season as the team’s promotion challenge fell apart.
The centre back struggled to shake off a knee problem which kept him on the sidelines for six weeks and injuries to other defenders in the small squad meant he volunteered to play before he was ready.
It all boiled over in a heated altercation with a handful of fans after the defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge in March.
Wright’s commitment was questioned by some, something the 28-year-old robustly rejects.
And after recovering from the injuries during the summer, the skipper is looking to put it all behind him.
He said: “I didn’t do myself any favours and a few fans got on my back thinking I didn’t want to be there, but I 100 per cent want to be at Oxford.
“I’ve always stated I’m happy here.”
He added: “I was fit, but I wasn’t sharp enough.
“It was plain to see from the silly mistakes I was making – I wouldn’t make them when I was fit.
“The year before when I got player of the year I had little niggles, but not bad injuries.
“I think if I’m fit and have little injuries I can get through a season and be consistent.
“That’s what I want to achieve this year.”
Wright came through 45 minutes in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Farnborough and will get more game time under his belt in tonight’s friendly at Oxford City (7.45).
Several first-team players, including Danny Hylton and David Hunt, could return after missing the trip to Hampshire with minor niggles.
United are hoping to be boosted by a new face ahead of kick-off.
Boss Michael Appleton said on Saturday he was very confident his first signing, believed to be a midfielder, would be completed before the game.
City’s general manager, Justin Merritt, said the game would give players the chance to force their way into his plans for the new campaign.
The last time the sides met, in 2013, City hammered United 5-1, but Merritt says pre-season games are about performances, not results.