Watford defender Tommie Hoban, on loan at Championship strugglers Blackburn Rovers, says his Premier League hunger is as strong as ever after a season away from the club.
Hoban has been attempting to help Rovers stave off relegation to the third tier for the first time since 1980, and gave them a fighting chance of survival with the only goal in a 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest on Good Friday.
That came in the Irishman's fifth start since returning from a four-month injury lay-off, the latest in a line of setbacks he has suffered which also led him to miss the entirity of last season Vicarage Road.
For now, the likeable 23-year-old's focus is very much on the next three games for his loan club, fixtures which will ultimately determine their future for next season.
But he confidently told the Watford Observer this week he has his sights firmly set on breaking into the Hornets' first-team when he returns to Vicarage Road in pre-season.
He said: "In my head, I want to be playing in the Premier League as everyone does.
"I’ve got two years on my contract and in pre-season I’ll be doing everything I can to break into the team and hopefully I do get given that chance.
"It’s three or four months away at the moment and now I’ve just got to focus on what I’m doing here at Blackburn.
"We’ve got three massive games to go and hopefully come the end of the season we’ve stayed up and I can turn my thoughts to it.
"I think they might have been to see me a couple of times, but having missed a lot of games there wasn’t a huge amount for them to come and see but it would be nice to get back and see everyone, I’ve got a lot of friends there – but at the moment I’m fully focused on Blackburn."
Hoban was initially ruled out of the start of Watford's first season back in the top flight with groin surgery, before pain flared up once again as he recovered later in the year.
He looked to be back on track at Ewood Park early in this campaign before another injury - a four-and-a-half month lay-off with a dislocated shoulder - continued his bad run of fortune.
With such little football under his belt for so long, it left the defender wondering whether he would ever be fully-fit for a prolonged period - but, touch wood, he is feeling as good as he he ever has going into the final weeks of the season.
He said: "I’m feeling good and hopefully I can finish the season strongly here, keep Blackburn up and who knows what the future will hold after that.
"Hopefully, I can go back to Watford, have a good pre-season and go from there.
"I’d be lying if I hadn’t thought it could dog me forever. I do think if I hadn’t had injuries I might be in a different place in my career right now, but people do get injured, it happens and I’m in a fortunate position still.
"Having had time out with my shoulder, I was still struggling with other problems from last year I haven’t got rid of by the start of this year.
"But now I’m feeling the best I’ve felt in a long time physically, I’m in a good place. Getting games here has been important.
"Being in this situation but mentally hopefully it can prepare me for tough situations in the future, and hopefully I can learn from it."