Fraser Forster has labelled his comeback as "perfect" as the England international returned to action as Southampton Under 21's edged past their Chelsea counterparts.
Forster suffered a serious knee injury last April and last night's return to action marked a big landmark in the former Celtic 'keeper's rehabilitation. Forster showed no signs of rustiness and made several superb saves as Ryan Seager's second half goal was enough to see Martin Hunter's side through to the next round of the cup.
Forster said that his return was "perfect" but the 'keeper said there's no urgency on his part to rush the final few stages of his recovery.
He told Southampton's official YouTube channel: "That was perfect, buzzing to get 90 minutes under my belt – it’s probably been nine and a half months now. The victory makes it that much better.
"If you look at the stages we've gone through, it's just the next stage. Every single one has been massive. Obviously we’re getting closer to the end. We’re not quite there yet but when we get there it’ll be a great moment.
"After the amount of time I've been out, an extra couple of weeks or whatever won't make much difference."
The medical staff and physios who helped Forster through his recovery were present at the game at Staplewood and Forster struggled to find the words to thank them for what they've done for him.
"I can't really thank enough people. The physios, the coaches, the other lads – the ones who have stood by me and really helped me."
"It’s nice that people care enough to come and see [the game]. It’s brilliant to see all the medical staff here. I can't really put in words how much to thank them. I don’t know what you can say.
"It was a bad injury, not a common one but credit to them. They’ve taken me through it step by step. It will be nice to get back on the pitch for the first team."