Dave Kitson has added incentive to help Oxford United finish in the play-offs as he looks to end his career on a high.
The former Reading striker signed a two-year deal with the U’s last summer, but is giving serious thought to hanging up his boots at the end of this campaign.
After being hampered by a hamstring problem which has limited the 34-year-old’s influence in recent weeks, Kitson returned to the starting line-up on Saturday, helping to inspire Gary Waddock’s men to a crucial 2-0 win at Plymouth Argyle.
It put United back into Sky Bet League Two’s top seven with four games remaining.
After suffering play-off defeat with Sheffield United against Yeovil last season, Kitson is determined to avoid a repeat this time around.
And while a final decision on his future has not been made, retirement could be just a few weeks away.
“I think I’m leaning towards calling it a day,” he said.
“I’m not really sure what else I have to do, once you go over the hill and start coming back down.
“It’s nice to win things. I was gutted not to win the play-offs with Sheffield United, I would be gutted if we don’t win anything or have success with Oxford United this season because I want to win.
“I’m a sportsperson, I want to win and it hurts me when I don’t win.
“There’s a bit of pride thrown into that, but I think at the end of the day there has to be a sense of there’s no point in killing yourself trying either.”
Kitson made his name as a striker with Reading, scoring 22 goals to help them win the Championship in 2006.
The veteran, who also played in the top flight for Stoke City, is content with what he has achieved in the game and is mindful of his quality of life post-football.
He said: “You have to look to the future.
“There are plenty of footballers I know that struggle to get out of bed in the morning and I don’t really want to be like that.
“I did what I wanted to do in the game, I got to the Premier League. That’s all I ever wanted to do.
“I never had any illusions about trying to win anything or play for my country, I just wanted to play in the Premier League at all those stadiums I saw on TV as a kid.
“I did that and I’m quite happy.
“If this is my last season then I won’t have any regrets.”