Anthony Pilkington admits his goalscoring return to the Wigan Athletic side in midweek ended months of pent-up frustration.
The 31-year, who joined Latics from Cardiff midway through last season, was restored to the side for his first start since the opening day of the campaign.
He’s been dogged by continuous injury problems ever since, but is hoping all that is now behind him after opening the scoring in the 2-2 draw at Millwall.
“Obviously it’s frustrating for me to have picked up the injury after the first game of the season,” he told the Wigan Post.
“I’d managed to have a really good pre-season, which I wanted to do, and it was probably something that could have been avoided.
“But it happened, and I had to get over it.
“I’ve been back now for a number of weeks, and it’s just about getting those minutes out there on the pitch and get going again.”
Pilkington’s other four appearances this term have all been cameos off the bench, and he admits waiting in the wings has been tough.
“It has been frustrating sitting on the bench, waiting for the call, trying to get on,” he acknowledged.
“You’ve just got to be patient and wait for that chance. All I can do is keep working hard in training, so when I do get that opportunity, I’m ready to help the team.”
This weekend’s visit of Reading has taken on extra significance with Latics having dropped into the bottom three after the midweek programme.
At the same time, three points could see Latics climb four places - and leapfrog the Royals - to give themselves a massive shot in the arm.
“The games against the sides in and around us in the table take on even more significance, because we’re fighting for the same thing,” Pilkington added.
“We’re all desperate for the points, and especially at home where we’ve been very strong until the last couple of games.
“I think in general we’ve been doing all right in between the two boxes.
“Maybe we just need to be a bit more ruthless in the attacking third, and maybe a bit tighter in the defensive third.
“If we can start taking the chances we are creating, it’ll give us a boost and push us towards the points we feel we’ve deserved.”