After making his first appearance of the season in a 25 minute showing against Braintree Town, Chris Knowles says he is excited to finally be back and fighting fit.

An instrumental part of the Tigers success last season, where Tim Harris’ men defied the odds to finish 10th in the National League North, Knowles hadn’t played since the end of that campaign before coming on as a substitute against the league leaders.

With the in-form Welling United visiting the Jubilee Stadium on Saturday, Knowles says that now is the time for him to show what he’s capable of and help the side push on.

“It’s really great to be back” said Knowles. “I’ve missed playing and I’m fed up of the gym so it feels good to be back out on the pitch being involved.

“The boys are going through a bit of a rocky patch at the moment so hopefully I can have an impact on the team and we can start picking up some results.

“Just being on the sidelines is frustrating. Watching week in, week out, you don’t want to go travelling to just watch football, we’re all in it to play. None of us are happy not playing and just picking up the money, that’s not how it works at this level, for us anyway.”

Knowles has suffered a couple of niggly injuries over the last couple of seasons and so far has missed over a quarter of the Tigers’ National League South campaign.

The midfielder hopes that he’s seen the last of the little knocks that have kept him out of the side.

“Hopefully it’s all sorted now, touchwood” Knowles says, smiling. “The surgery was back in May and I’ve been through and completed the rehab process now.

“I had a microfracture so that’s what has taken the most time to get right, originally the surgery was just going to be keyhole but they found a bit more damage so that’s why it’s taken so long.

“It’d be great to stay injury-free for the rest of the season because I don’t think I’ve done that for a few years now!”

With the Tigers currently sat 15th in the National League South table after 13 games, Knowles believes the squad should be looking up at the top half, and not over their shoulders at the relegation zone.

“I think we should be pushing higher than where we’re at” he said. “We’ve got our goals from pre-season and that’s what we should be aiming for.

“It’s a different league from the North, I wouldn’t say there’s any more or any less football, it’s just different teams.

“The events aren’t as big you know when you go to some grounds compared to Stockport and FC United of Manchester, so that’s something we do miss, but it’s a tough league and anyone can beat anyone on their day.”

The Tigers welcome Welling United to the Jubilee Stadium on Saturday afternoon, full details below.

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