I think I have served the world’s longest ever suspension!
The red card I received against Walsall earlier in the season came just a few minutes after I sustained a really bad knee injury.
At the time I was trying to run the injury off unaware of the severity of it.
It all came about as I challenged for the ball and was pushed from behind as I tried to turn.
The defender came into the back of me and I felt a crunch in my knee.
It was later diagnosed that a piece of cartilage had been damaged and had come away completely from my knee.
Call it the innocence of youth but I tried to continue despite the pain.
I had been brought on by the manager after only 20 minutes of the match after Andy Little had suffered an injury.
Having been a bit-part player in the early games of the season, I was desperate to make the most of my opportunity after scoring the winning goal in the previous game against Shrewsbury Town at Deepdale in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
Against Walsall, we were 1-0 down after Romaine Sawyer had put the Saddlers ahead, but I managed to set up Joe Garner for our equaliser eight minutes before half-time.
We had gone 2-1 down early in the second half and I was doing everything in my power to get us back level when the injury occurred.
Probably pride prevented me from calling over to the bench to tell them to take me off.
I didn’t want to be a substitute who got substituted...instead I was the sub who got sent-off!
The red card was a moment of madness on my part. I reacted badly to a strong tackle from Walsall’s big central defender Andy Butler.
It was a stupid thing to do and I will certainly learn from my mistake. But I have served my time – all five months of it!
The good news is that I am very close to a return.
I have played 90 minutes of football twice now in the last couple of weeks, which felt great. My surgeon signed me off weeks ago and it’s just been a case of working with the physio here Matt Jackson and continuing my rehabilitation.
I bet Jacko is sick of the sight of me now but he has been working me really hard on the long road back to fitness.
The injury was a massive blow and frustrating as I was just starting to make my mark in the first team.
But that’s football. You never know what’s going to happen or what is around the corner.
I like to think that I could be in the manager’s thoughts for this weekend’s game against Scunthorpe United at Deepdale.
The two goals I got in a bounce game against Fleetwood earlier this week have given me a great deal of confidence.
I have been telling everyone that they were two 40-yard screamers but I have to confess they were two headers from close range.
To be fair, I was pretty happy with the two ‘bullet headers’ because that’s my job as a centre-forward, to get on the end of crosses.
By the way, when I do make my long-awaited return, I have told the media team here at the club that I am expecting a video montage of my goals – like they did with Joe Garner after his return to the squad earlier this month!