It's just like old times at Windsor Park these days. Peter Thompson is back on the pitch and his name is back on the scoresheet.
Already he is enjoying 2012 much more than he did 2011. Especially after notching his 200th goal for the Blues last weekend.
Although Linfield were marching off with another Premiership and Irish Cup double last spring, Thompson was going through a very difficult time away from Windsor Park.
On the pitch the 27-year-old looked fighting fit, but privately he was agony as his health was suffering.
Thankfully for the striker medical experts got to the bottom of the problem and now, four months after undergoing kidney surgery, it is he who is inflicting pain on defences throughout the league once again.
“It was about this time last year that I started to feel some discomfort and over a period of time I was going in for scans as the doctors tried to discover what exactly was wrong,” said Thompson.
“At the beginning I think there was a feeling that there was very little wrong with me, that it was nothing major, but I ended up in a lot of pain.
“The club were great in getting me into hospital quite quickly and I was looked after very well.”
Watching Linfield play, rather than being in the thick of the action, wasn’t something Thompson was used to. He’d never before spent any length of time on the sidelines at Linfield — although a collapsed lung kept him out for four months during his time at Stockport County.
“When I was out injured it made me appreciate playing more,” said Thompson.
“It’s not that I didn’t appreciate it before, but I’ve never had what you’d call a ‘football injury’ that’s kept me out for anything more than a couple of weeks so I wasn’t used to watching from the stand.
“I’ve had to channel the frustration in other ways and used it to motivate myself to get back and enjoy my football and I’ve realised now how much I do enjoy playing and winning things.”
Thompson has won five league titles and as many Irish Cups — five doubles, one in every season he’s played as a regular for the Blues since the 2005-06 campaign — and his 200 goals came inside just 317 games.
Dungannon Swifts are now in the firing line tomorrow as he looks to another century.
“I knew at the start of the season that I was five short of the 200 mark and I had hoped that I would get them before the surgery,” said Thompson.
“As it turned out it was nice that I didn’t because it gave me something else to use as motivation when I came back.
“It’s nice to have hit a landmark and it’s nice that people mention it, but for me now it’s about the future and that means looking for more goals.”
And the worrying thing for Linfield’s rivals is that the man who has scored five goals in as many games since his comeback is still a while away from being at his best.
“I am feeling so much better and really I’ve just got to get back to full match fitness and get some sharpness back,” said Thompson. “That’s getting better all the time and I am happy with my fitness level, but realistically I know that I won’t be back to the level I want to be at until pre-season.”