Stoke City defender Danny Higginbotham made a successful playing return last night.

After six months out, the former Manchester United trainee featured in the reserves' win over Sheffield United.

"It's been a long old time to be out of action, but all the hard work has been worth it just by being out there on the pitch today," Higginbotham told the club's official website.

"It was a nice bonus to score the winning goal, but the main thing for me was just to get through those 45 minutes without feeling any affects of the injury.

"There is still a long way to go though because it's going to be important to manage it in the right way now."