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GIVEN that he is the man who defied medical advice to play in the Scottish Premier League while suffering from a serious knee injury, it would be foolish to regard Marvin Andrews' aspirations of returning to the top flight as fanciful.

After what he refers to as 11 months of "time off", Andrews is back. Second Division strikers, faced with the Trinidadian's ample frame in the season's closing weeks, will soon testify to that.

Andrews has, in reality, spent almost a year recovering from his latest knee ligament problem. Having reached an amicable agreement with Raith Rovers to terminate his contract before the end of last season – he was the club's highest earner but faced an uncertain future given his injury record – the defender underwent surgery in Yorkshire.

Raith's manager, John McGlynn, recalls how he would often arrive at Stark's Park in subsequent months to find Andrews running around the pitch alone as he recuperated with the assistant of the Kirkcaldy outfit's medical staff.

That recovery apparently complete, Andrews lined up as a Raith trialist in the derby victory over East Fife a week ago; he has since signed a contract until the end of the season.

"We had hoped he would manage 70 minutes against East Fife," McGlynn said.

"We kept checking on him, he kept saying he was ok, I was amazed he managed the full 90 minutes."

McGlynn regards the return of Andrews as a "massive coup" for the club as they attempt to seal promotion from the Second Division. "He is a huge character, on and off the park," added the manager. "He is awesome in the air and it's great that the club could bring in a player of his calibre at this stage of the season."

Andrews' ambition, however, does not end at a successful push into the First Division.

"It is my ultimate desire to get back to the SPL," explained the 33-year-old. "That is my utmost vision; to get back to my peak performance, to how I played when I was with Rangers and Livingston and when helping Trinidad and Tobago reach the 2006 World Cup.

"My career started on a high; I want it to finish the same way."

There is also the small matter of a 100th cap for his national team. "You have no idea how much that would mean to me," insisted Andrews, who is a single appearance short of that milestone. "Ever since I was 16 years old, it has been my dream to play for my country. To reach 100 would be fantastic, the culmination of a fantastic journey for me."

He does, in fact, hold legitimate hopes of being included in the international party for upcoming matches against Honduras and the United States. Those who watched Andrews at New Bayview may contest that the player's fitness remains some way short of what would be required for such matches. "I know I am still lacking in match fitness," he admitted. "I have to prove myself again at Raith Rovers, only then would a bigger club, for example, want to sign me."

Those even vaguely familiar with Andrews will hardly be surprised to learn how he has spent the last year, fitness matters aside. Even now, he is regularly the man who answers the phone at Kirkcaldy's Zion Praise Centre; his part-time role as a minister is something Andrews has always taken seriously. A greater being, Andrews has always maintained, is responsible for everything he does. "During my time off, I was doing the work of the Lord," he said. "I was preaching, going out to schools and churches and doing things I could not have done when I was playing football. I was able to go to Northern Ireland for a weekend, for example, to preach there.

"And I did all of this alongside my rehabilitation. God has plans for Marvin Andrews; other people had their own opinions about me but I never doubted I would get back to playing football. I knew I would be back."

If God is due thanks for Andrews' latest return, so too are the staff at Raith. The towering defender regards Kirkcaldy as "home" these days – he has stayed in the town for more than a decade – and the club as where his heart lies.

"The club have been fantastic to me as I have tried to get fit again," he said. "The physiotherapists have spent a lot of time with me, worked with me during their own time, and I have to thank them for their help.

"Hopefully my experience can pay them back by helping them gain promotion.

"John McGlynn has done a fantastic job, they have come so close to promotion twice, and I have a real belief that this is our time."