Louis Moult felt rather stiff-legged on Sunday morning but could not have been more delighted with the aches and pains.
The striker played his first 90 minutes for Preston in the FA Cup defeat against Sheffield United on Saturday.
It was a big moment for Moult following his £450,000 move at the start of the month from Motherwell.
A hamstring injury had delayed him pulling on a North End shirt until a run as a substitute the week before against Birmingham.
Now he hopes there is no looking back as he strives to establish himself in the PNE squad.
The next chapter for him is the visit to the City Ground to face Nottingham Forest.
Moult said: “It was good to get the full 90 minutes against Sheffield United, it was something I felt that I needed.
“It was the first time I had played 90 minutes for 10 weeks – that’s a long time.
“I felt the effects the next morning – I was a bit sore and stiff – but I expected that.
“At this stage of coming back from injury, minutes were what I needed.
“I was excited more than anything to play on Saturday, delighted to start.
“It was disappointing to lose but the buzz of playing again was a nice feeling.
“I thought we did okay as a team but we should have created more chances.”
Moult, 25, played in the No.9 role at Bramall Lane.
He led the line on his own before being given some company later on in the shape of Jordan Hugill.
Reflecting on his display, Moult said: “It is tough when you play up there on your own but it is something I’m used to – I’ve been doing that since I was a kid.
“I love it, I thrive off that, love a battle and I’m used to it from playing in Scotland.
“When Jordan came on, I showed the other side to my game.
“Jordan started to hold the ball up and I played in and around him.”
The pair almost worked a path to an injury-time equaliser, an overhead kick from Moult finding Hugill who forced a diving save out of Blades keeper Simon Moore.
Said Moult: “It was a bit unorthodox but I was just trying to keep the ball alive.
“I got the ball back into the middle and didn’t see much after that because I was on my head on the floor.
“Watching the highlights, Jordan was a bit unlucky.
“Probably with a bit more power and another half an inch to the side of the keeper, it would have been a goal.
“Jordan was between two defenders when he had the shot and the keeper made a good save.”
Moult already seems part of the furniture at Deepdale, the deal to sign him having been struck in December.
North End got in early to sign him, and were able to speak to the frontman once he entered the final six months of his Motherwell contract.
Once he agreed to the move, a deal was struck with the Scottish outfit to sign him on January 1, when the transfer window opened. After his delayed start, Moult is looking forward to showing the Preston fans what he is all about on a more regular basis.
The Stoke-born front man said: “I’m a goalscorer first and foremost, I came with that record.
“Every time I go on the pitch I want to score a goal and I’m disappointed if I don’t score.
“I’m passionate, I’m a grafter, I’m a great believer that if you work hard you will get your rewards.
“You’ll see that in my game once I get going.”
Moult says he has moved to Preston in the belief that they can sustain a challenge for the play-offs.
“There is definitely a feeling that we can go up,” said Moult.
“All of us believe in our own ability, we are confident but level-headed at the same time – we are honest too.
“As a group and as a club we can achieve big things here.”
North End head to the City Ground on Tuesday night looking to give their Championship form a bit of a kick.
While they have lost only one of their last 12 league games, PNE have not won since the 1-0 victory at Cardiff City on December 29.
Four of the last six games have ended in draws, one of those being the reverse fixture against Forest at Deepdale. That finished 1-1 two days before Christmas, with Paul Huntington on target.
Said Moult: “It should be a good game down there.
“Nottingham Forest have a new manager to impress and will be out to catch his eye.
“They are a big club with a good tradition but so are we, and I’m looking forward to it.
“We go there with plenty of confidence and hopefully we can come back with a good result.
“It is the start of quite a busy programme but I like it when the games are coming thick and fast.”