THIS was always going to be a season for Steve Yates to try and get his career back on track, but now it offers so much more.
In common with new arrival Iffy Onuora, the unflappable 33-year-old missed almost all of last season with Sheffield United because of injury and wondered how long a comeback might take.
The chance to join Town late in the summer offered the hope of regular first-team football in the Third Division, although Yates accepted he would have to work hard to earn his place.
He has done that and more, proving to be one of Peter Jackson's most reliable troops as Town have moved into the automatic promotion places with eight matches left including today's visit to mid-table Leyton Orient.
And, should Town go up, he will be in excellent shape to make the most of the second year of a contract offered because Jackson knew he was recruiting quality.
"I'm very glad I signed and made the move here because it's a big club, a great club and we've got a great set of lads," said Yates, who was the choice of many observers for man of the match against Swansea last weekend.
"I am very pleased with my form at the moment and, after last season's injuries, it's nice to play 30 games again and to be enjoying my football so much.
"Automatic promotion is something the team want very badly.
"We said at the start of the season we wanted to try and win promotion and it would be wonderful to do it at the first attempt.
"Obviously, people always talk about the play-off places, but if we take things game by game you never know about automatic. We are certainly going about things the right way at the moment and to go up automatically would be great."
Yates - rated a contender for Player of the Year by the manager - forged a solid partnership with skipper Efe Sodje and young Nathan Clarke before the latter suffered the ankle injury against Rochdale which resulted in this week's operation.
With Clarke out for the season, teenager David Mirfin has stepped in as sweeper, and Yates has been impressed.
"I thought he played brilliantly against Swansea," said Yates.
"It is difficult to go from marking - which is the job he is used to - to playing in a free role, but he has done it well and he will only get better as time goes on, that's for sure.
"I thought the whole team performed well last weekend, though.
"We kept playing well for the whole 90 minutes and there wasn't a single minute where we slacked off - so the lads deserve a lot of credit for that.
"I was concerned at the outset because we missed three good chances in the first five minutes and I thought `no, we've got to take one of these or it could cost us.'
"In the end we were fine, though, and I thought we thoroughly deserved the 3-0 scoreline. The lads worked their socks off and got their just rewards."
While a strong back five prevented Swansea from troubling Paul Rachubka with a single shot on target at the McAlpine, Yates shared the credit with the strikers and midfield.
"It is a team game," he remarked. "When the strikers and the midfield are doing their closing down, it does make it easier for us.
"When lads are working hard in front, it cuts down the options for the opposition and we know where the ball is going to go and we can close down the space as well.
"That's when your whole team is playing together, and that's what we are doing at the moment."