Colchester United midfielder David Fox has said his return to the U's marks the end of a difficult period.
The 30-year-old was released by Norwich City in June after a lack of first-team football and then suffered from mumps over the summer.
"It's been a very frustrating summer - a very frustrating couple of years," he told BBC Essex.
"It's good to come somewhere I'm familiar with and be in contention to play again."
Fox had a season at Colchester in the 2009-10 campaign and left to join former U's boss Paul Lambert at Norwich, where he helped the Canaries win back-to-back promotions to the Premier League.
|Fox on illness|
|"I was so tired. I thought it was just getting back into football but it was the illness."I was sleeping really well but I was very fatigued."I feel alright now. How long I can manage in a game now I don't know, but I've been keeping myself fit."|
But after Lambert's departure in 2012, Fox made just nine appearances for the Norfolk club.
"I played more than enough the first few years under Paul Lambert, but after that it was very frustrating," he said.
"He had a lot of faith in me and had a role for me that suited me down to the ground. Unfortunately he left and when somebody with another philosophy comes in, your face doesn't fit."
The former Manchester United academy player trained with Preston in early pre-season, but his chances of finding a club were hampered by a bout of mumps, and it was not until this week that he signed a three-month deal with Tony Humes's Colchester.
"I was so tired. I thought it was just getting back into football but it was the illness," he said.
"I was sleeping really well but I was very fatigued.
"I feel alright now. How long I can manage in a game now I don't know, but I've been keeping myself fit."