SIDO Jombati says he is back to 100 per cent fitness after battling back from double hernia surgery.
Last season's player of the year went under the knife in November after playing through the pain for nearly two months.
He was given an early Christmas present by boss Mark Yates, who allowed him to return to his native Portugal to visit family and friends while he recovered.
Jombati returned to action for the 3-2 victory at Northampton Town on December 8 and after feeling the strain in the extra-time FA Cup win at Hereford United, he has now regained full sharpness.
"I have felt no pain at all, but I struggled to complete 90 minutes without heavy legs for the first couple of matches after returning," Jombati said.
"Having played a few games now my legs are normal and I feel completely right, so I am trying to make more runs forward."
For the second season in succession Cheltenham are well placed at Christmas to make a push for automatic promotion during the second half of the season.
Jombati believes they are better equipped to go all the way this time around after being forced to settle for a play-off place last term.
"I think we are doing the job much better than last year," he said. "We were in the top seven a year ago, but now we are in the top three and we know what we need to do to win games.
"We know we can't concede when we are winning 1-0. Last year Torquay won a lot of games 1-0 and if they scored they didn't concede.
"We have already kept more clean sheets than last year so we've learned about that too.
"I think we are a little bit better at the back and we know that if we don't concede, or concede only one, with the players we have up front we will win matches."
Jombati is used to being away from home at Christmas, but he said his fleeting visit last month was a welcome break ready for a busy festive programme.
"Christmas in Portugal is similar to here, but there we eat food all week from Christmas to January 1 and party all the time," he said.
"Everyone stops, nobody works and there is no football either. But here it is the time of year clubs can make extra money so that's good and I am looking forward to these matches.
"It was nice to see my family and I have come back feeling fresh, so it will be good for me during the rest of the season."
â For a match report and reaction from last night's match at Rochdale visit this isgloucestershire.co.uk.