Southend United left-back Peter Gilbert returned to a winning side after Rotherham United last weekend having sat out one of the longest three-match suspensions ever! Gilbert: 'It had been hard to stay fit while I was out'Full back Peter Gilbert was sent off at Stevenage in November and returned to the starting eleven the very next year, well January.In between the adverse weather left Gilbert sitting on the sidelines for six weeks instead of three, and Johnny Herd taking up his playing position which led to a couple of games warming the bench. However, now he's back and should be in the side for the two home games on the bounce against Bury and Macclesfield Town.Gilbert told www.echo-news.co.uk: "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." So how are fitness levels at the end of a match played in a vicious wind with a lot of chasing up and down the massive pitch at the Don Valley Stadium? Gilbert continued: "I did get tired towards the end but it wasn't as bad as I was expecting to be honest. I thought we were going to be under a lot of pressure in the second half but we hung on reasonably comfortably and I felt OK as well. It had been hard to stay fit while I was out because the weather meant I couldn't really train properly during some of that time as well. But I was in the gym, out swimming and cycling and the fitness team at the club did a really good job in keeping me in shape."