A year is a long time in football – certainly for Wigan Athletic defender Craig Morgan.
The ex-Wales international looked certain to leave the DW this time last year following a spectacular fall from grace.
Just weeks after picking up the League One trophy as Latics skipper, Morgan was rumoured to be on the verge of an exit, with Sheffield United waiting to pounce – a move which never materialised.
Despite staying put, Morgan was relieved of the club captaincy by then-boss Gary Caldwell, with Stephen Warnock taking over the armband and new signing Jake Buxton named vice-captain.
Morgan then endured a frustrating term as Buxton and Dan Burn established themselves as the first-choice centre-back duo, both under Caldwell and successor Warren Joyce.
However, after returning to the fold under Graham Barrow, Morgan signed a new two-year deal, and could well have a key role to play in the future after leading Latics out in the recent friendly draw with Liverpool.
New boss Paul Cook has still to formally decide who will wear the armband moving forwards, with Sam Morsy also in the running.
But Morgan is just focused on getting his career back on track.
“I could have moved last summer, the opportunity was there,” Morgan revealed.
“Under Gary I wasn’t in favour, and there were times I could have gone.
“But I didn’t want to go, andI made it clear to the people at the club that I wanted to stay and fight for my place, and be part of this.
“We all worked so hard two years ago (to get promoted), and to not play so much last year was tough.
“Obviously things changed a couple of times, but I sat down with the club and discussed the future, I told them I wanted to be part of the football club.
“I’ve enjoyed my time here – as much as I have at any club in my career – and I didn’t want to leave.
“Things happened last summer, which I won’t go into.
“But you’ve got to have strong enough character to bounce back, and keep doing the right things on a daily basis.
“If you work and train hard, and conduct yourself the right way, hopefully things will turn – that’s what happened to me.”