He admitted he was still a bit rusty after four months out, but Baily Cargill was relieved to be back in an MK Dons shirt on Tuesday night.
The defender missed the promotion run-in last season, making just 10 appearances in 2019 before being sidelined with an ankle injury.
During his time on the sidelines though, Cargill barely missed a game home or away, almost becoming Dons cheerleaders with fellow treatment room resident Alex Gilbey.
“We were MK Dons fans, pretty much home and away as much as we could!” Cargill said. “As good as it was to watch, I would have loved to have been a part of it.
“Who knows what this season might bring – hopefully we can create something special like we did last year.
“We’ve got great team spirit. It was really good last year, and we really clubbed together at the end of the season, and I think that’s why we made it happen.
“All the lads will be looking to emulate that as well.”
Rehabbing through the summer, Cargill was rewarded with a 10 minute cameo in the 1-0 win against Hemel Hempstead Town.
While he admits he is still a way off making a full return to the first team, Cargill was delighted to be back on the pitch at Vauxhall Road.
He said: “It was really nice. It has been a long time, it has been frustrating.
“To finally be back out there and putting the kit on was nice.
“I felt a bit rusty, but it was just nice to get the first minutes under my belt and forget about my injury.
“It was such a relief, so nice to be finally back, just out with the lads in training. You feel a part of it again.
“It was a tough four months, and coming back makes all the hard work in the off-season and coming in over the summer worthwhile.”
It was not an easy return though. He continued: “I was blowing! I’ve put in a lot of hard work, but I’m still a bit off the rest of the lads who put in 80 minutes.
“But there is still another week, and another two games I could potentially play in so I just need to get some minutes and get as fit as I can be for the first game of the season.
“I don’t want to rush back and make my ankle sore again, I want it put to bed so I can crack on and get on with the season.”