IN-FORM skipper Jon Worthington believes he's got a lot to look forward to this season.
Not only is the 23-year-old hitting top personal form after recovering from hernia surgery in September.
But the tough tackling midfielder feels there is a massive improvement to come from Peter Jackson's team which can carry them towards promotion.
Academy product Worthington, who made the job of selecting a man-of-the-match against Scunthorpe a mere formality, commented:
"My personal aim is to play as many games as I can this season and help with our promotion charge.
"At the beginning of the season I was carrying an injury and I think it's only natural that you try to kid yourself that everything will be okay and you can carry on.
"That obviously wasn't the case and I'm a lot happier now I've got it sorted and I'm back playing again.
"I feel I am getting stronger with each game and starting to show something of what I'm really capable of, something like my best again, and that's really pleasing for me.
"With the team, I think everyone knows we've not hit the heights of this same period last season - not by any stretch of the imagination.
"We've grafted, stuck at it and gained reward for some of our performances, but we know we can play a lot better, especially at home.
"Here at the Galpharm we need to get the ball down and get it moving more quickly.
"That's what we are good at when we're playing well and we haven't been as consistent at it this season as we have been in the past."
Worthington was forced off in the closing seconds of last Saturday's 1-1 draw but was delighted with the outcome after Matt Sparrow had fired the third-placed visitors ahead (Andy Booth netting a late equaliser).
"Off the back of a 3-0 home defeat against Brighton we were very determined," he explained.
"I can't think of too many occasions in the past when we've lost back-to-back home games and, with the lads we've got in our dressing room, we certainly didn't want it happening against Scunthorpe.
"In the past, after a setback at home, we've always turned in a decent performance in the next game and, last week, we had to work really hard for what we got.
"It was a great effort by the lads after going a goal behind to a good team, and I thought we showed great character and spirit to come out of it with a point.
"We had a few decent chances as well, in additon to the one which Boothy scored with a fantastic header, and maybe we should have nicked it towards the end.
"On another day, it could easily have been a different story and we could have been coming away with all three points, but at least we worked hard, showed we weren't going to give it away and got something for our efforts.
"Ideally I would have liked to have been there at the end, but lost count of the number of kicks I got on the same place on my shin.
"My leg just went sort of dead and my shin was quite swollen at the time, so I had to come off, but it's okay now."
While Worthington is happy with his own form, he was particularly pleased for different reasons to see Nathan Clarke and debutant Joe Skarz doing well in defence.
"I know Nathan is my best mate and we've grown up together at this club, but I couldn't praise him highly enough for the way he returned to the side," he said.
"Being left out undoubtedly hurt him, but he came back in against two tough strikers and both Nathan and Martin McIntosh did really well.
"Nathan has taken a bit of stick recently but, looking back over the last four or five years, I can't think of too many games when he hasn't produced the goods.
"He has set such a high standard and played so well, making very few mistakes, that when he does have any performance which is slightly under par it tends to get scrutinised and picked upon.
"Personally, I think it's great to have Nathan back in the side, I'm delighted for him that he's back to his best and I've no doubt he'll be doubly determined to hold onto the defensive shirt for the rest of the season."
On Skarz, he added: "We've all seen him doing really well in the Reserves this season, showing great composure on the ball and I think he's got the makings of a really good player.
"He has got to keep his head down and work hard, but he can be extremely chuffed with himself after his performance in such a big call-up to the first team.
"The only advice I gave to him, thinking back to my own debut, was to make sure he enjoyed the game.
"It's a fantastic occasion making your Football League debut, but you don't want the nerves to take over and I don't think they did with Joe.
"I am sure if you asked him now he would say it was one of the best days of his life, because a League debut is something you look forward to and strive for and it's something you remember very vividly when it finally comes around.
"I'm really pleased for Joe that he did so well and, hopefully, it's the start of good things for him."