It was a bittersweet afternoon for Stewart Downing on Saturday against Doncaster Rovers.
The midfielder earned a first start since rejoining Rovers in November, but couldn't stop Tony Mowbray's men from bowing out of the Emirates FA Cup at the third round stage.
Downing, who has been playing catch-up with the rest of the squad having not been with the club in pre-season, appeared for just under an hour against Darren Moore's side at Ewood Park.
And speaking to iFollow Rovers after the encounter, Downing admitted he had mixed emotions when reflecting on the day.
“It was nice to get back out there, I’ve been itching to play but the team’s been functioning quite well," he said.
“It’s been hard to get on, I’ve got minutes here and there, but I feel good and it was nice on a personal level to get an hour under my belt.
“It would have been nice to have been on the winning side but it wasn’t to be for us on the day.
“I’ve always been motivated to come back fit and I remain excited by what we have in the dressing room.
“I want to play my part and hope to help us get into the promotion area.
“There’s still a long way to go, it’s just the case that we’re not finishing things off of late.
“You always have dips in a season, it’s just about turning things back on very quickly," he added when looking further ahead to the return to Championship action against Stoke City on Saturday.
“It’s about coming through those dips, there’s still 23 games to go, but we need to get moving forward again.”