After almost a year out injured and some recent family trauma, Chesterfield's Sam Wedgbury is delighted to get back on the pitch

Sam Wedgbury has worked hard in training to return to the pitch
Sam Wedgbury has worked hard in training to return to the pitch

Sam Wedgbury has been through the ringer since he last played football, so he was over the moon to get 70 minutes at Staveley.

The midfielder played just three games for Chesterfield last season before injurying his ACL.

READ: Assistant manager gives his thoughts on today's friendly.

He's spent almost an entire year on the sidelines and that in itself would have made today's pre-season friendly a significant occasion.

But the recent, dramatic arrival of his little boy made the lead up to his long-awaited return an even more emotional time.

"It feels really good," he said after the 4-4 draw.

"It's been a long time coming, 11 and a half months.

"The legs started to feel it towards the 50, 60 minute mark but I'm just so happy to be fit and healthy and out on the pitch.

"You have a little bit of nerves, you want your knee to hold out and after all I've been through in the last couple of weeks with my partner and the little one, she had a traumatic labour, it's the icing on the cake to play. It's nice."

Being blessed with a new addition has meant sleep has been at a premium for Wedgbury.

But he was desperate to play today and full of gratitude to the Spireites staff for putting him out there.

"My partner had a real bad labour so all last week I was in hospital with her overnight.

"She was in for a week.

"This week I've been back fully training.

"It's testament to the gaffer, Snods, Charlie and Norm that they let me play today.

"Sometimes they can be a bit cautious with you, not let you play, but it's just good to be out there."

READ: Penalties galore in 4-4 draw with Staveley.

The game wasn't long underway when the central midfielder threw himself into a big tackle.

Winning the ball and getting up off the floor unscathed gave him a confidence boost and ticked another box in his recovery.

"You can't train for things like that, we do contact stuff in training but you can't really train for (big tackles).

"It was good to test it out early and it felt really good and strong.

"There's no reason why I can't crack on next week now, get some more minutes under my belt."

His job was to provide defensive cover for the back four, but he saw plenty of the ball in the first half and sprayed it out wide to good effect - most of the time.

"You're talking, getting people where they want them, that bit just comes naturally.

"But sometimes on the ball you're a bit sloppy, maybe today hitting a few diags too many.

"It does come back slowly but surely, but there's plenty more to come yet. It's the first step on the ladder."