Pape Souare returned to competitive action at Selhurst Park on Tuesday in the Development League match against Nottingham Forest.
The defender fractured his thigh and jaw in an accident on the M4 a year ago and paid tribute to the medical team who have worked with him through his rehabilitation.
“It was very nice to be back playing at Selhurst Park and I really enjoyed it. I have been working hard with the medical team and it’s great that I am able to be back today and playing forty five minutes.
“I played at wing-back today, but I feel comfortable in that position because I have played there before but now it is about working hard to keep getting my fitness to the level it needs to be so I am ready to challenge for the first team squad when I can.“
He has never wanted to put a timeframe on the date of his return but has always remained focussed that he would be pulling on the red and blue shirt again and is delighted to see that his hard work has had its rewards.
“This is my first main injury I have had since playing football and really I am just delighted to be in a position to be playing and I would like to thank the medical team for all the work they have done to get me back to this stage so that I am ready to be playing again.
“I was always focussed on my rehab and always believed that one day I would be back. I knew that after my operation I would have to work hard to make sure that I was strong enough to play. It has been a long journey so it is pleasing to have played half of this game."
The day to day work in the gym is never an easy one when you know you are not fit enough to be involved out on the training pitch with your team mates but Pape has been delighted with the encouragement that they have shown since his return to the training ground after his operation.
“They have been great and really encouraging, telling me to keep doing what I am and everything will be fine and they were right because today I am here, have played 45 minutes and that is a big thing in my recovery. I have to take each step as it comes along, I am following instructions from the medical team and they have got me back playing so now I will listen to what I should do to move onto the next stage.
“I just wish and hope that one day I get the chance to run out in front of the fans for a first team game because they have been great, really encouraging me since the accident and I would like to thank them all.”