Kieft - It felt good to make that last big step

Maikel Kieftenbeld makes his return.
Maikel Kieftenbeld makes his return.

Maikel Kieftenbeld has expressed his delight at finally returning to action after 10 months on the sidelines.

The midfielder made a late appearance from the substitutes' bench in last night's goalless draw against Millwall at The Den.

It was first time the 29-year-old had figured for the First Team shirt since last April when he damaged his knee ligaments.

"It was really good. I really enjoyed it," said Kieftenbeld.

"I was in the squad for the last couple of games and I was waiting to come on, and today it happened and I'm just really glad I'm back.

"I've tried to keep myself calm and said to myself that I have to wait, but once you're in the squad you just want to play.

"It was a scrappy game to watch and perhaps I was the only one on the pitch to enjoy it, but I played 20 minutes."

It has been long road to recovery following surgery for the 26-year old, as he himself admits.

"It's been tough especially the gym part," he continued.

"I've been training with the team for eight weeks, so it feels like I'm already back, but it was just the last big step for me personally.

"It feels really good to just do that final step so I can close the whole chapter now of being injured and I'm just part of the team again and everybody can focus on the team again including myself."

Blues have 11 games of the season remaining and Kieftenbeld is hoping to get much game time under his belt prior to the end of the campaign.

"My aim over these 11 games is to play as many minutes as I can. I just want to play as many games as possible," he concluded.

"Of course, you want to return as quickly as possible, but you want to do it well.

"I’ve worked really hard over the last couple of weeks to get my fitness levels up.

"I'm still maybe a little bit off but that's normal and you just get fitter by playing the games.

"I've done all the things they've asked from me and now it's about playing games and maybe getting 90 minutes under my belt with the Under-23s at some point.

"But the games come thick and fast and I've said to the manager and the fitness team that I just want to be part of the team now.

"That's what I feel comfortable with just to be part of the team and not talking about me. To be back on the pitch with my teammates was a great feeling."