Burton Albion midfielder John McGrath says he has mixed emotions about being rushed back into the Brewers team ahead of the League Two play-offs.
McGrath, 32, has been recalled from his loan at York City after Jack Dyer was ruled out with an ankle injury and Lee Bell serves a four-game suspension.
He will make his first league start of the 2012-13 season for Albion against title-winners Gillingham.
"I'd written off my season with Burton," McGrath told BBC Radio Derby.
"I'm not going to say I'm delighted, because I didn't want Lee to be suspended and certainly didn't want Jack to be injured.
"But when one door close another opens, and I'll admit that I had the biggest smile on my face when the gaffer gave me a call on Sunday morning to tell me that I would be recalled for the final game of the season.
"There was always that little bit of hope because I was being recalled to Burton on 27 April anyway.
"I've trained as I would normally train and thankfully I've kept myself fit, so I'm delighted to be involved for this one."
McGrath, the club captain who has played 236 games for the Brewers, struggled to get first-team football under manager Gary Rowett this season after recovering from major foot surgery.
His only start for the East Midlands outfit this term came in the FA Cup third round exit against Leicester City.
"It has been a frustrating 12 months," he added. "I got myself back fit, but I can't go and knock on the gaffer's door and say that I should be playing, that I'm better than him or him because the lads have been doing fantastic.
"It's been strange - I'll always support Burton and never want them to lose a game of football, but I'd rather us win games with me on the pitch, which I did for five years here."