Michael Turner hopes to make his Southend United debut in tonight’s Essex derby against Colchester United.
The defender has been unable to contribute to the side since signing in the summer window after suffering a hamstring injury in July.
But after playing 45 minutes for the U23 side last week and being included on the bench against Yeovil Town, Turner says his next step is minutes for the first team.
“We’ll see what the manager wants to do but for me personally I need time on the pitch to get my fitness up and hopefully tonight will be a good opportunity to do that,” he said.
“It’s been extremely frustrating. After signing in pre-season, getting some training behind me and then getting injured in a pre-season game, it was a big blow for me.
“At the time I thought it would be a three week injury but it turned into a three month injury, so it’s been painful to say the least.
“I’m pleased to be over the injury now and back training to try and get as fit as I can in a short space of time.
“I’ve trained on and off for two weeks now. I had 45 minutes for the U23s, so hopefully I’m in a position now to get some game time with the first team and progress from there.”
A win for Blues in the Checkatrade Trophy will see them progress to the knockout stages.
Turner added: “After Saturday, this game coming round quickly gives us a chance to put things right.
“It’s going to be a tough game, it’s a local derby, but it’s key that we bounce back quickly and put Saturday’s disappointment behind us.”