Former Birmingham City midfielder Darren Carter has signed a six-month contract at Cheltenham Town.
The 28-year-old has been without a club for a year after suffering a serious groin injury during a pre-season trial with Brighton in 2011.
He had been recently been training with Blues but opted to join League Two Cheltenham until January.
"To be given the opportunity to be out there playing again is so exciting," he told BBC Points West.
"The frustrating months in the gym and in rehab are hopefully behind me now and I can move on.
Carter's career stats
- 2001-05: Birmingham City
- 53 appearances, five goals
- 2004: Sunderland
(loan) - 10 appearances, one goal
- 2005-07: West Brom
- 37 appearances, six goals
- 2007-11: Preston
- 109 appearances, six goals
- 2010-11: Millwall (loan)
- 11 appearances
"I've had a full summer doing my own thing and I've done a full pre-season so I'm raring to go."
Carter came through the Blues academy and played 53 games for the first team before being sold to West Brom for a reported £1.5m in 2005.
He went on to join Preston two years later but failed to secure a regular place in the starting XI, and was transfer listed by then manager Darren Ferguson.
Carter was loaned out to Millwall before being released by North End in May 2011.
He struggled to regain fitness after tearing his adductor muscle last summer but had been linked with Walsall and a return to St Andrew's.