Southend defender Peter Gilbert is delighted to be finally back in the first-team after serving "the longest three-game ban ever".
The left-back was shown a straight red-card against Stevenage in November and he was scheduled to return from suspension in mid-December.
However, due to a number of postponed fixtures and a shortage of match fitness he only made his first start since his ban in Saturday's 2-1 win at Rotherham - having been an unused substitute in the two previous games.
Gilbert told the Southend Echo: "It's just been a horrible time for me and very annoying.
"It has to be the longest three-game ban ever and I've certainly not heard of anything quite like it before. I didn't think it was ever going to end and, not being able to play, you begin to feel a bit useless around the place.
"I travelled to all the games I missed to show my support for the lads but you just want to be out there helping them not sitting in the stands. Because of that it was brilliant to finally be able to play again at the weekend."