BREWERS defender Darius Charles has taken a significant step on the path back to full fitness with 45 minutes of reserve team action this week.
The summer signing from Stevenage was delighted to be back in action after a nine-month wait in Monday's match against Shrewsbury.
He said: "I have been dying to get back and include myself in all that's going on here and it's a pleasure to play alongside the boys.
"I last played on a Tuesday night against Bury in February so it has been a long wait.
"It has been bitter sweet being out. It has been brilliant how the boys having been doing - I just want to be part of it sooner rather than later."
The reserve outing means that Charles feels he is "back in and amongst it" and he now says it's about returning to the level required by Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to be considered for a first team place.
He said: "I want to get fit and give the gaffer another option. The teams that do well always have competition in the ranks. Without that we won't get any better."
Charles says it has been "a tough journey" but he's now pleased with the progress he's making.
He says: "You have your ups and your downs but I really get inspiration from playing with the boys and they have been brilliant in keeping me upbeat and including me in everything. I'm feeling motivated and ready to show what I can do.
"I haven't been able to do what I love for the last nine months but you either pity yourself or do all you can to get yourself back to full fitness."