Nottingham Forest’s Chris Cohen says he enjoyed the aches and pains he experienced after playing 87 minutes against Blackpool on the opening day of the season.
It was the captain’s first competitive game since he sustained a knee injury against Burnley last November.
Cohen was a given a taste of match action with pre-season appearances against West Bromwich Albion and Burton Albion before skippering The Reds to opening-day success.
And, other than a bit of next-day soreness, he was delighted to emerge from the encounter showing no signs of a setback.
He told Forest Player: “It’s the only time you can enjoy waking up the next morning with cuts and bruises all over your body and not being able to walk. You know you’re back in real football.
“To come through unscathed is good but I’m still returning from injury. I have to continue my hard work in the gym and hopefully I can continue to contribute to the team.
“I’m not going to have a good season just because I’ve had one good game against Blackpool, I’m going to have a good season if I can show that form consistently.”
Cohen, who says he will play wherever the manager wants him to after he was handed a central midfield berth against The Tangerines, was left out of Tuesday’s Capital One Cup trip to Tranmere.
But he is in contention to play against Bolton at the Macron Stadium on Saturday.
Cohen said: “Games against Bolton are always tough. They’ve used the parachute payments to buy very good players for this division with a lot more Premier League experience than we probably have.
“They’ve got a great side on paper but if we play as we did in the first half against Blackpool I don’t think it matters who we’re playing against - we’ll be able to score goals and we hope to do that again on Saturday."