Callum Ainley has set his sights on a strong second half of the season, as he closes in on a return to first-team action.
The 25-year-old started the campaign strongly but has been out of action since the end of September, when he picked up a serious shoulder injury.
Now the attacking midfielder is back on the grass, and close to a return to full training.
Ainley says he is eager to make a big impact in 2023.
He said: “Hopefully I can come back and help the team and we can have a good second half to the season.
“It’s massive for myself, being out of contract in the summer. I need to get back to playing football and have a good six months.
“I think I had a good start to the season, but now I’ve had some time to think about what I can do better, and what I need to improve on.
“The main thing is to stay injury free, and hopefully performances and results will take care of themselves.”
Ainley, Crewe’s longest-serving current player with almost 250 appearances under his belt, suffered a dislocated shoulder and associated ligament and tendon damage, in the 2-1 defeat to Mansfield.
It was a blow to the homegrown player, who has suffered significant injuries in each of the past three seasons.
Ainley added: “In each of the last three years, I’ve had about three months out, and it kills your confidence and it is mentally tough.
“I’ve worked hard to make sure my legs are okay after having problems with my hamstring, but this came out of nowhere and there’s nothing I could do.
“I knew straight away it had gone, it felt like my arm was on the wrong way round.
“I’ve started running now but I’ve not gone into any contact with it yet. I need to get more confidence in it to go into contact and landing on it, things like that.
"I feel fit, but the shoulder still feels weird. I’ve just got to get through that, and a lot of it is in the mind.”