“Without the goals, I would have been happy just to be out on the pitch”
Tommy Hughes expressed his delight to be back playing following injury after Town U23s' 4-2 victory at Playford Road against QPR on Monday.
The homegrown forward, who had previously not started a game in 22 months, helped the young Blues secure three points over The Hoops in Professional Development League Two by netting a hat-trick and providing the assist for Tawanda Chirewa's strike.
Monday's result made it successive wins in PDL2 at the start of 2022 following last week's 2-0 triumph at Cardiff.
"It's been brilliant for the lads since we've come back after Christmas," Tommy told the Club website.
"Hopefully we can get into the playoffs like we have for the past few years.
"Without the goals, I would have been happy just to be out on the pitch. I’ve worked so hard over the past month, so I knew I was ready to play.
"To keep coming back, breaking down and going through hip surgery, and then being able to return; I’m just so happy to be back."
Reflecting on his lengthy time out through injury, Tommy – who has made three-first team appearances to date – added: "There are a few people I need to thank; obviously my mum and how she’s been dealing with me. When I came home I was sometimes down or sometimes happy and she’s handled me really well.
"Alice [Grindrod], who was the Club’s player care officer and is now working with the first-team. She has been absolutely brilliant for me; helping me every day and getting me through it.
"My friends and family have all been around me. Kieron [Dyer] had his injury problems in his own career so he’s been a really good mentor for me to speak to. The physios, sports science guys, Bryan [Klug]; there are so many people that have helped me."
Town U23s are scheduled to return to action on Tuesday, 8 February away at Millwall.