Richard Wood can barely hide his delight at being back involved for Rovers following his injury issues this season.
A pair of calf injuries have limited the captain’s game time since joining the club last summer but he made his return to action at Bradford City in midweek.
And being called upon for pre-match media duties was a pleasure rather than a chore for the experienced defender ahead of the long trip to Sutton United.
“It’s nice to be speaking to the press on a Friday afternoon!” He said. “Normally players aren’t too keen on doing it but when I got the nod, I wanted to get back involved.
“It’s been nice being back in among it, training again and playing. It’s been hard, it’s been really difficult.
“I’ve not been injured for a good few years so to be out for a long time, come back but have another setback, it wasn’t nice.
“Just being back involved is so good and I’m just happy to be playing. I know we lost at Bradford but me being out there, I just enjoyed it and had a smile on my face. It’s a good feeling to have.”
Reflecting on his time on the sidelines, Wood admitted it made finding his place at Rovers difficult following his arrival after nine years with neighbours Rotherham United.
“I found it hard to start with. I wasn’t used to being injured,” he said.
“As an experienced captain of this club, I found myself as a bit of a spare part, not knowing what I should do and how much I should get involved. Should I go into meetings with the players or keep out of the way.
“That’s a weird situation for me to be in. Maybe it’s with me being at a new club in new surroundings. How far could my opinion go if I’m not involved.
“I probably could have just walked in and said what I wanted to, get my point across and help people but I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes.
“Maybe I’m too nice at times. I have got a ruthless streak, don’t get me wrong but I did find it hard.
“As time went on, I found it easier. I concentrated on my rehab, had my input when it was needed and everything was fine.”
Wood praised manager Grant McCann for opening the door for his leadership skills to have an impact on the rest of the group, even while injured.
“The gaffer wanted me to come along to games and be involved and that really helped,” he said.
“That’s what you look at from a manager. I wanted him to lean on me for certain things, ask questions.
“Ultimately, I’m here to help people so that’s what I’ve done.
“It’s been a long road and I’m just glad to put it all behind me.”