Steven Reid was delighted to come through his comeback game for Blackburn Rovers reserves unscathed yesterday.

The midfielder has been out for over a year with back and knee problems and played a part in Rovers' 5-0 defeat of Sunderland. He told the Lancashire Evening Telegraph: "I was a little bit controlled out there, feeling my way in a little bit, but it was nice to get plenty of touches of the ball.

"It's just brilliant to be back out there, and hopefully it won't be long before it's for real on a Saturday afternoon.

"I'd like to say it would be next week but I've still got quite a bit of work to do on my hamstring - a bit of strength work - but after that it actually feels like you're a footballer again and I can see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.

"I didn't sleep the last couple of nights - I've been this close before to playing; I didn't train today just in case anything happened. It's just a big relief.

"Earlier on in the day I was wishing it was the day after, but to play an hour, I feel brilliant."

He added: "It's been an unbelievable year really. It's made me so much more mentally stronger and it makes you realise what's important and how important playing football is.

"I've just missed a season and I'm not going to pass up the opportunity to train every day and play every game international wise and for the club - I just want to play as long as I can now.

"Hopefully these injuries will make me a stronger player."