GARETH Ainsworth has given his clearest indication yet he plans to make a playing comeback this year.

The Blues boss officially retired from playing at the end of the 2012/13 season after making exactly 600 appearances in his career, but injury crises last year meant he was forced to name himself as an emergency substitute on a couple of occasions.

He made a few appearances as a player in pre season and it was clear he still had plenty of ability as a player.

Ainsworth has registered as a player on non contract terms and given himself the squad number 41 to reflect his age.

But he said: "It's always an emergency measure but there's more chance of that happening [him playing] this year than last year.

"I had 26, 27 players last year - this year I've got 21. The odds are it will happen. I've got to stay fit and keep myself ready in case I'm needed, but there's some great options in front of me first.

"If it needs be I'll be fit and ready like everyone else."

He added: "Looking back maybe I could have put the boots on a couple of times last year and maybe make a bigger impact than what was made. It's hindsight, and everyone's got a degree in that. Going forward I'll be making the right decisions at the right time."