Shane Clarke admitted he was ‘delighted’ to find himself named in the Boston United squad for the first time this season.
The midfielder agreed to rejoin the Pilgrims in the summer, but is yet to see any action after suffering an Achilles injury.
But after taking part in three full training sessions with the club, the 29-year-old was named on the bench, an unused substitute for Boxing Day’s 1-1 draw with Gainsborough Trinity.
“I was delighted just to be on the bench, which ain’t me really, I’m the sort who wants to be playing every minute,” said Clarke.
“But it’s baby steps, I will be ecstatic when I get on the pitch.
“The last few months have been building up to this point and I’m delighted just to be involved again.”
Clarke says he would love to face former employers Gainsborough Trinity at the Northolme on New Year’s Day (KO 3pm), but knows he is short on match fitness.
However, he is targeting being back to his best for January 28’s trip to Tamworth, where he played for the past two seasons.
The midfielder continued: “It would be nice to get on the pitch there (Gainsborough), but at the end of the day it’s down to the management and physio teams to decide what’s best.
“At the end of next month we’ve got Tamworth, and that’s one I’ve definitely got my eye on as it’s where I was last. I had two good years there.
“I need to play matches now as that’s the only way I’m going to get my fitness back up.
“I can do as much line running as I want with the physio team and that’s fine, but ultimately I need games, so we’ll see.
“The Achilles is holding up nice and strong, touch wood.
“Credit to the physio team for getting me back here.”