Dean Marney said he ‘felt good’ after making a welcome return to action.
The Clarets’ midfielder played for 45 minutes to help Burnley draw 1-1 in the Professional Development League at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground.
It was his first competitive appearance since suffering a second cruciate ligament injury to his right knee at Arsenal in January.
And the 33-year-old is now planning to build up from here after reaping the rewards for putting in the hard yards on the training ground.
Marney – who has played over 200 league games for Burnley as a key player at Turf Moor for over seven years – told the Clarets’ official website: “It’s been a long time. A lot of hard work has gone into that and it’s way ahead of schedule really, which is good, so I was really happy.
“I felt good. I have done a lot of good work – a lot of strength work with Shorty (strength and conditioning coach Tom Short). He’s been fantastic for me.
Dean Marney required treatment from Phil Pomeroy
“He gave up a lot of his summer to come in with me over the summer, so a big thanks to him.
“But that’s just the first step and there’s still a long way to go.”
Marney was scheduled to play just one half at Forest – where he made his presence felt in the middle of the pitch – but hopes to increase his workload over the next couple of weeks.
He added: “It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me with the lads being away on internationals.
“It’s been small groups and a lot of five-a-sides, a lot of twisting and turning, so my knee has had a real good test, so it was nice to get out on a bigger pitch actually.
“I think there’s another game next week. I think the plan is to have another 45 in that and then one the following Monday and maybe 60 minutes then. We’ve just got to keep on taking it slowly.”
Freddie Ulvestad got the goal as the Clarets extended their unbeaten run to four games in league and cup competition.
Nahki Wells played for the first time since signing from Huddersfield
And the game also provided a valuable run-out for summer signing Nahki Wells, who played for an hour for the first time in a Burnley shirt after recovering from a foot operation.
“It was good to get some minutes under my belt after a long three or four months,” Wells told Clarets Player HD.
“To come out of it fit and healthy is the most important thing.
“I felt good. My fitness is still lacking but that’s going to come in the next couple of weeks.
“In training I have felt really well, but there’s nothing like playing a match.
“There’s no comparison to match fitness and I think that’s the only thing I lack at the minute, which comes through playing games.
“I will keep training and keep playing these games when they come about to keep ticking those minutes off and before you know it I think I’ll be ready to play my part when called upon.”