Jim McAlister was overjoyed to end a 14-month wait for a return to league action on the weekend.
The midfielder, who fractured his tibia against Colchester United in February 2017, has been on a long process of rehabilitation, with his only previous outing - against Shrewsbury Town in the Checkatrade Trophy - thwarted days later by another impact injury.
However, the 32-year-old has been back training again for the last few weeks and made a big step by featuring as a substitute at Gillingham.
"It obviously helps when the boys put in the type of performance that they did, getting a three-goal cushion. It made it easier for the manager to put on the likes of myself to get a 10-minute run-out," McAlister said.
"I got close in January, I got back on the field in January, albeit it was just the one appearance and you end up with a set-back. Mentally it can be quite challenging, but at this club you’re surrounded by good people, which helps massively, and good family as well back home. They’ve got us through times when I’ve felt quite low.
"I’ve said in the last couple of weeks that it’s now probably the first time I’ve been pain free with my leg. It’s just unfortunate that the season is coming to an end.I feel reasonably fit, though it’s completely different when you got out on the field of play, it’s a different kind of fitness. It was good and I really enjoyed it."
Full of enthusiasm for the final two matches of the campaign, McAlister is also relishing the prospect of preparing for a new season.
"I feel like a kid again. I’m buzzing to get back on the field of play and I’m now going to work hard at it over the summer. For once in my career, I’m looking forward to pre-season," he added.