Dec 6 2013 by Nick Hilton, Main WIR
JASON KOUMAS insists Tranmere fans have still not seen the best of him, more than four months into his comeback to the professional game.
The 34-year-old midfielder says he expects to find greater sharpness and fitness the more senior games he plays and hopes the busy Christmas and New Year programme will help the cause.
“I am not yet as fit as I want to be and the more games I play the better I should be,” Koumas said.
The former Wales international, who rejoined Tranmere in the summer, ending a two-year absence from football, eased himself back into first-team football with a succession of substitute appearances in August.
Just as he was stepping up to the starting line-up, Koumas sustained a groin strain, which put him on the sidelines for two months.
After overcoming the injury, Koumas started four games in succession during November, then was left out of last Saturday’s 2-1 win over Colchester, making way for the return of skipper James Wallace.
Koumas said: “I managed to get a few games early in the season and it wasn’t a bad start for me.
“Then I did my groin and I was out for six weeks or so and I had to start again with my fitness.
“It was difficult because that was the time I needed to be getting games. But that is behind me now.
“What matters most now is getting fit.
“When I’m fully fit there won’t be a problem. I’m confident I can play in the same kind of way I did before (I left football).
“The important thing is to keep away from injury.
“There’s a lot of games coming up over Christmas and New Year and I’m hoping that’s going to help me.”
He hopes to see some action tomorrow, when Tranmere visit League One promotion contenders Peterborough United in an FA Cup second round tie at London Road.
Koumas says he received many offers to return to football during his 24-month sabbatical and had personal reasons for choosing to sign for the local club where his career began in the late 1990s.
He said: “If Tranmere had been two divisions down from where they are now, I would still be playing for them.
“It wasn’t about me wanting to come back to a team in the Championship. It’s about me coming back to play for Tranmere.
“I had plenty of offers in the two years I was away to come back to big clubs in the Championship with great managers.
“But for me the timing was not right.
“I wanted my time out of football and I don’t regret it.”
Koumas revealed that being able to take his children, Ellen, Joshua and Lewis, to watch him play in Rovers games was a major factor in choosing to restart his career close to home.
“A big reason I am back here is my children,” he said.
“They can come and watch me now. They are on my case. They were too young to come and watch me when I was playing at West Bromwich Albion and in the early days at Wigan Athletic. Now they can watch me and see what I do for a living.”
Koumas says he is grateful to manager Ronnie Moore, who made the decision to sign him after a brief trial in the summer.
“The manager has been really good,” Koumas said.
“He’s been patient. He’s given me the chance to come back and it is up to me to get fit and produce my best.
“The training here is very good. I’m a lot wiser now and I know how to manage my body.”