It had been more than five months since Denver Hume last took to the pitch for Pompey.
The January arrival from Sunderland suffered a back injury towards the end of last season that took a while to clear up.
A 45-minute outing at Crawley in the group stage of the Papa John’s Trophy might not be the most glamorous occasion to make his comeback.
But Hume was simply satisfied to be out on the turf again after such a lengthy period on the sidelines.
The left-back said: “It has been really tough – I’m not going to lie. It’s been a very frustrating period for me.
“It was a back problem that was also neural and went down the leg, so that’s why it got a bit complicated.
“I’d got off to a good start after signing for the club at the back end of January and played quite a few games in quick succession.
"When you get older and have experience of injuries in the past, you get to know your own body and learn to do things right."
“But I realised quite quickly that it was something I couldn’t rush because I wanted to avoid any further complications.
“I’ve just had to knuckle down and work really hard, staying patient and making sure I do all the training to get me to this point.
“It can be tough to do that – even more so when you see the team doing well because you want to be out there with them.
“But when you get older and have experience of injuries in the past, you get to know your own body and learn to do things right.
“Now it’s about continuing to build and progress, so I can move in the right direction. I’m in a good place.
“To get 45 minutes under my belt felt great for me and the main thing is that I felt fine afterwards as well.
“It will be a recovery day on Wednesday and then back to training ahead of what’s a really big game on Saturday.”