Hartlepool United defender Michael Duckworth said it was a bittersweet return to first-team action against Notts County after four months on the sidelines, writes Matthew Henry.
The full-back has been out with a stomach injury but returned to the Pools side that suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat against The Magpies.
Four months is a long time to be out. I have been pulling my hair out!
Duckworth said: “The result wasn’t the best but it was nice to get 90 minutes under my belt.
“It has been a long time. Four months is a long time to be out. I have been pulling my hair out,” he added.
“I had scans and nothing was showing up, I went to see a specialist and they couldn’t find anything.
“I then had to have an operation and it dragged on longer. I have played two reserve games and been training so fitness is getting there but it is a lot different to playing first team football. It is a much higher tempo.”
Jon Stead’s goal separated the sides when Elliott Hewitt was allowed to much space on the right to cross to the former Sunderland striker.
Duckworth said: “We have just got to cut the mistakes out because that one mistake cost us the goal.
“I would like to see it again because it looked offside but that lapse cost us. It could have gone either way.”
The 23-year-old’s return came at left-back, a change from his usual place on the right. “It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “I have played there before and knew what to expect.”