It's been a long and winding road for Ben Gladwin, but his two-year injury anguish is over and he's now looking to the future.
It's been two years of hell for the 27-year-old, with the midfielder out of action since Tuesday 7th November 2017 prior to his Rovers return for the Under-23s against Burnley last week in the Premier League Cup.
There's no doubting that it's been a tough time for Gladwin, who admits he's had plenty of dark days on the treatment table during his 752 days without a game, but he was thrilled to get through 45 minutes in the victory over The Clarets.
“I really enjoyed being back out there," he said with a smile to iFollow Rovers.
"There were a few things that the brain wants to do that the body isn’t ready for yet, but it was great to get some minutes.
“It was an end-to-end game so it was perfect for match fitness as well. You can train as much as you want, but to get back on the pitch is what you want.
“I was a bit nervous because you’re wondering if your body can do it, but as soon as I got involved and got a few touches I felt really good. It was a mixture of emotions, there was excitement and anxiousness because being out of action for two years is a long time.
“If I wasn’t bothered about playing football then I wouldn’t have made it through two years out injured. All I wanted to do was to get back on the pitch playing football, so hopefully, touch wood, there’s no more injuries and a long career in front of me.
“I want to get myself built up and get games under my belt and ultimately the plan is to get myself back in the first team picture as soon as possible, so we’ll see how that goes.
“I’ve had a few setbacks, enduring three operations in the end to get myself almost back to full fitness, before needing another one.
“It was tough on the head. All I’ve dreamt of is about playing football again. It’s been so frustrating seeing the lads go out to train every day and my body just hasn’t been able to do it.
“I can’t lie, it’s been really tough and there have been a lot more down days than good days," he confessed.
“You find out a lot about yourself as a person and find out just how much you love football and what’s important.
“In those dark times, football does a lot for me. It’s what I love doing so I’m thrilled to be back now.
“I always knew I loved football, but you probably take it for granted at time, putting your boots on and going out to train.
“When you didn’t have a great session you’d have a little moan, but I’ve made a promise to myself now to just enjoy everything."
After over a year out, Gladwin was on the cusp of a return to full fitness, only for more heartbreak on his first day back in Rovers training.
And he's thankful for the support from everyone at the club for their help throughout his rehabilitation.
“I got myself right back to the points of training again, then I did my knee again on my first day back training," he reflected.
“For a little while, although I knew I needed the operation for my future and to play with my little boy, it took some convincing to decide that I was going to get back to playing football.
“I’ve had great people around me. The medical department have been amazing, particularly Ollie [First Team Physio] who has had to listen to me every day for the past two years, so he deserves a round of applause.
“It’s been tough. It’s a great club, I love the lads and the staff and I’d love nothing more than to get myself fit, flying and contributing on a Saturday.
“I’m so grateful to the club for sticking by me. I’ll always consider it a job, but I want to enjoy it, give everything I’ve got, show everyone what I can do and have no regrets when I finish."