Murray Wallace was forced to sit and watch Millwall's battle to beat the drop in the final few months of the 2018/19 Sky Bet Championship campaign - and is now "dying" for a return to the starting XI as 2019/20 gets underway.
The Lions travel the short distance to Essex on Saturday afternoon to take on National League South outfit Concord Rangers (kick-off 1pm) in their first pre-season friendly, and the defender, speaking to millwallfc.co.uk, expressed his delight at the squad's return to pre-season training last week.
The Scot suffered a nasty injury in a 2-1 defeat at Hull City in late February.
"It's nice to be back. All of the lads have enjoyed their time off, but we're all glad to be back in pre-season training," he said. "The first week is always tough - doing your testing, putting the work in - but it's been a good week of work.
"The end of the season came at the wrong time for me, I was just getting back to fitness. I've been dying to come back, because I've had to wait a couple of months longer.
"I tore the inside and outside ligaments of my knee and all the ligaments around my ankle. I was quite fortunate that I didn't need surgery - it was a bit touch and go with that, but I went to see a consultant who told me I would be ok to recover without it."
Prior to his spell on the sidelines, Wallace was the hero - twice - as The Lions firstly defeated Everton in dramatic circumstances in the Fourth Round of the Emirates FA Cup, before going on to be the sole scorer in the Fifth Round victory over AFC Wimbledon.
The 26-year-old explained his frustration at not being able to build on that personal and team success, but stated that a new season, plus the all-important Portugal trip, gives him and his team-mates a chance to "hit the reset button."
"Going on that Cup run was nice, but to then miss the next game - although I was suspended, anyway! - was frustrating. Not just in the Cup, but in the League as well. We needed points, and it was frustrating for me not to be able to help the team out.
"We've hit the reset button. Everyone starts fresh and sets the standard and expectations that anything can happen this season. That's where you get the excitement levels - we'll see where the hard work takes us.
"[The Portugal trip] was perfect for me last year. As a new player coming in, a week away in the sunshine sounds great, but it's not a holiday, it's a tough training camp. You wake up with your team-mates, you go to sleep around them, it's a real intense time with them - and that's where you get a good bit of bonding."