Derby defender Zak Whitbread says he is ready to help the Rams' promotion push in the Championship after making his first start in six months.
Tuesday's 4-0 win against Blackpool was Whitbread's first full 90 minutes since injuring his hamstring in October.
Victory was also only Derby's second in their last 10 league matches.
"I knew I was ready. I felt good in training and I knew even after playing 45 minutes in the reserves I could do a job," said the 31-year-old.
"With the way results have gone, I was made up to be playing today and get the result."
The problem has limited Whitbread to just 10 appearances for the Rams this season since his move to the iPro Stadium last June from Leicester City.
"It's been very frustrating - it's the ugly part of the game," he added.
"You can't really get yourself too down about it and have to hang in there."
Steve McClaren's Derby side are currently fifth in the Championship, four points clear of Brentford in seventh.