Hull City forward Fraizer Campbell admits he is now in his best physical condition for five years after opening his account for the season in the 1-1 draw away to Sheffield Wednesday.
Campbell’s clinical finish handed the Tigers a first-half lead at Hillsborough on Saturday before Fernando Forestieri’s penalty ensured the Yorkshire derby ended all square.
A new Championship season has begun with Campbell starting both fixtures ahead of Nouha Dicko in City’s attack and the 30-year-old says not since 2013-14, a campaign where he was turning out for Cardiff in the Premier League, has he felt as sharp.
“I’d say it’s probably a good five years since I felt this good,” said Campbell. “I feel a lot better now than I have done in the past few years and it makes a massive difference to me and the team.
“Last year I wasn’t as fit as I should’ve been. I missed a lot of football the season before that and I had a long, extended summer (after signing for City in mid-July).
“It’s been really good to have pre-season under my belt and start the season fresh, same as everyone else. Scoring a goal early doors gives you that confidence to take it on into the next few games.”
Campbell scored six goals in 23 starts for the Tigers when joining for a second spell last summer but the hope will be for at least double figures this term.
“My injury problems in the last few years are just down to not playing enough football,” said Campbell.
“When you’ve been on the sidelines for a long time and then come on for one game, your muscles can’t keep up with that because of the way I play with high energy.
“But I played a lot of football last season and got a good pre-season so hopefully that’s behind me.”
Having helped City to promotion out of the Championship on loan a decade ago, Campbell now holds the honour of being the club’s only servant with over 50 starts in black and amber.
The summer overhaul has given head coach Nigel Adkins a new side to work with this season and a first Championship point came at Hillsborough.
City left the Steel City with regrets a first victory of the season had not been recorded but Wednesday’s spirited second-half reaction left Campbell with little room for complaint.
“A point is probably fair, but the lads were gutted in the changing room at the end, which says a lot about the group,” he said.
“We dominated the first half and had chances to extend the lead. We looked solid as a team. It’ll take time for us to get the best out of each other, but there’s a lot of positive signs there to suggest we’ll improve.”