Preston North End defender Graham Alexander says he thought his playing days were over when he was released by Burnley in the summer.
The 39-year-old rejoined Preston in August and has been a regular in the team ever since.
Alexander told BBC Radio Lancashire: "The weekend before the season started I didn't have a club and hadn't spoken to anyone.
"I was starting to think that this could be it."
After starting the League One season with one point from a possible six, Preston have won seven in a row and Alexander has made the holding midfield role his own.
"I kept myself fit over the summer and it's worked out great for me," added Alexander, who spent eight years at Deepdale between 1999 and 2007.
"I wanted to carry on playing football but I had to be realistic and I didn't know whether there would be any offers out there, but luckily I hung on and got a great phone call."
Alexander's influence on the team has been noticed by North End's assistant manager Brian Horton.
"To play for over a thousand games is fantastic," Horton said. "I can see why because he's a model professional.
"I know the role he plays because I used to play it. He plays it fantastically well.
"He passes it simple. He does things correctly and day in, day out, he is a model professional."