Josh Wright hopes Tuesday’s U23s runout is him back to full fitness after missing the first seven weeks of the year with a hamstring injury.
Wright said the injury – which he picked up against Shrewsbury Town at the end of December – was his first proper layoff in his professional football career.
But after playing around an hour and scoring a goal in the 5-0 U23s win over MK Dons U23s, following the substitute appearance against Portsmouth, he is now ready for a full first team return.
“It’s probably my first ever real injury as a professional contracted to a club, definitely of that sort of length,” said Wright.
“It was testing, I can’t deny it. It was very frustrating at times.
“I say it was tough to take, it was gruelling. You have to work very hard. Sometimes you think you’re there and then you’re not, it just takes time.
“I should never have played against Shrewsbury really, and I know that in my head. Charlton should have been my last game and I probably needed a game or two out as I wasn’t quite right.
“I learnt my lessons from that, but you’ve got to take the positives out of it.
“I feel fresh now, I’ve worked on leg strength stuff, running and sprinting outside and I’ve learnt a lot about the muscle.
“I damaged the tendon as well and there’s not a lot of blood flow to the tendon so it took that little bit longer.
“I’ve worked very hard, I’ve got myself there in the end and hopefully that’s me back now.
“I had a little taste of it on Saturday but to be out there for on Tuesday, no matter what level it is or what game it is, just playing football and playing matches is what it’s all about.
“To get a positive result was even better.”
In the period that Wright was sidelined, Chris Powell has of course been appointed as manager and Blues have gone onto win four from their last five games.
Having played with Powell when at Charlton, the 28-year-old is not at all surprised that results have picked up.
“The first few weeks of being injured it was the old gaffer and that was that and I’ve said before the respect I’ve got for him,” Wright added.
“He was a great guy and he will go and do well again, but since the new gaffer has come in he’s been absolutely top drawer.
“I knew exactly what he was all about. I’ve not played under him but I played in and around him at Charlton.
“He just lifts places just by him being there. He’s got a great voice and a great character and also now what I’ve seen on the training ground, which was what I knew from what he was like as a player, he’s top drawer, along with Damo [Damian Matthew] and Kev [Kevin Keen].
“I’ve only been back on the training ground a few days but the training sessions have been absolutely top drawer. The whole place has been lifted, it’s buzzing, it’s enthusiastic and I’ve really enjoyed myself since I’ve been back fit.
“I can’t wait to push on now, help the team and see ourselves push up the table.”