A year ago Liam Mandeville was a youth team graduate hopeful of whatever game time would be offered to him.
But 12 months on, the 20-year-old is on the brink of where regular starts look a reality.
It appears the striker has won the race to partner John Marquis for Saturday’s season opener against Gillingham after a brilliant friendly campaign which saw him net six goals in five games.
And he has the chance to make up for lost time following the injury problems which robbed him of the opportunity to build on last year’s blistering run when he scored eight goals in an 11 match run.
A year is a long time in football, and Mandeville is ready to show just how far he has come.
“Last season I think I was just finding my feet,” he told the Free Press. “This season I want to play every game, get as many starts as possible and stay in the team.
“Hopefully I can try to get as many goals as I can and help us move up the league.
“It’s a big season for me when I hopefully get a lot of games and more experience.”
It is not just on the pitch where Mandeville is looking to improve and learn.
The forward admits he has gone through a learning curve with managing his body but is entering the new season in the best condition of his career.
He said: “Obviously I want to do a lot of work because I want to get better but sometimes it’s about knowing your body and knowing when to do something and when not.
“Through the off-season, I think it’s probably the best time to do your weights because if you do it through the season, I found I was coming back tired and more prone to injuries.
“I think that’s what I was doing last season.
“Every day in the off season I was in the gym and hopefully it’s paid off.
“It’s hard to notice but you just feel better in yourself.
“I definitely feel like I belong more on that pitch.”
The obstacles in Mandeville’s way for game time are team mates Andy Williams, Alfie May and, on his return from injury, Alex Kiwomya.
And the laid back striker is ready to take it all in his stride.
He said: “It’s healthy competition up front.
“That will help because you always have to be on your toes in every game.
“We’ll see what happens this Saturday.”