ANDY TRETTON plans to play a full part in Accrington's promotion push as he nears the end of his injury nightmare.
Tretton is yet to figure in a Conference game for the league leaders after picking up a knee injury shortly after his summer signing from Hereford United.
But the cultured centre-back donned a first-team shirt for his competitive Reds debut in the Lancashire Cup on Tuesday night.
And after coming through 90 minutes of the win over Ramsbottom unscathed, Tretton is focussing on the battles ahead.
He said: "I was quite happy with it and it's great to be involved with the lads. I need to work on my timing and judgement but playing a game is better than all the training in the world.
"Hopefully I can get another couple of games under my belt and kick on from there."
It might be the New Year before Tretton, who also had a 45-minute run-out in the reserves last week, is considered for first-team duty following his recovery from surgery.
But his return will come as a massive boost for Stanley, who made the 29-year-old their top pre-season signing.
"It's been a tough time, coming to a new club and not being able to show what you can do," Tretton added.
"I enjoyed the pre-season games I played and thought I did really well, but that seems years ago now.
"Ian Liversedge has been great in keeping me going and it's good to be part of a successful club and a team that is winning because it's a better environment to come to work in.
"But players are often selfish, and I just want to be playing. And on the positive side, hopefully I will be back in for the run-in."
Tretton is no stranger to promotion campaigns from his time at Hereford and believes things are looking good for Stanley after they went to the top of the table with last Saturday's success over Altrincham.
He said: "If you can get points on the board it's so much better than to be scrabbling around for them later. I can't see any reason why we can't stay there."
Altrincham's last-gasp leveller at Grays Athletic on Tuesday night kept Stanley in pole position in the title race and Reds boss John Coleman is happy to be up there to be shot at.
"I'd sooner be there than chasing," he said. "The last time we were top at Christmas we won the league, albeit the league below.
"We need to get as many points as possible to cement our position in the play-offs, which was the target from the start.
"After that the emphasis might shift to winning the title and we will be going all guns blazing to try and win every match."
Stanley will be bidding for a sixth straight win against Kidderminster Harriers tomorrow as they look to continue to capitalise on a streak of home games.
Coleman will warn against the dangers of a side looking to nick a result under the caretaker-managership of old warhorse Martin O'Connor after Stuart Watkiss was sacked in mid-week.
But the Reds chief believes that if his strikeforce fires on all cylinders then there's every reason for Stanley's inspired run to continue.
Coleman will have to make one change with Ian Craney serving a one-match ban.
However, the shoulder injury sustained by the midfielder last Saturday is not as serious as first feared and Craney should be back to again face former club Altrincham in the FA Trophy on Saturday-week.
Kiddermsinster took the decision on Wednesday to fire Watkiss following an indifferent start to the season.
The former Mansfield boss was unable to keep Kidderminster in the Football League last season after replacing Jan Molby in November, 2004.
And despite beating Dagenham last weekend the Harriers remain in the bottom half of the Conference after winning just six games so far.
"We just felt that, overall, results weren't good enough," said Harriers chairman Barry Norgrove.
"I think if you take this season as a whole we haven't performed well enough in the Conference and we just think it's time for a change. The play-offs are still our goal this season."
Vastly experienced ex-Birmingham, Walsall and Shrewsbury midfielder O'Connor has been promoted from player-coach to lead the side at Stanley, when he will be looking to celebrate a happy 38th-birthday.