Jan Kirchhoff is "pleased to be healthy and feeling good" after making his Sunderland comeback.
The midfielder returned to the field last night after a seven-week absence with a hamstring problem.
Kirchhoff scored the opening goal in Sunderland U23's Premier League 2 victory at Manchester United last night.
The German came through his first 90 minutes since damaging his left leg in the 1-1 draw with West Brom on October 1, which was only his fourth appearance having recovered from hamstring trouble in pre-season .
"It’s was good for me [to play again] because it was a long time ago," Kirchhoff said in an interview on www.safc.com.
"I’ve had a lot of injuries this year and I feel like this is my third pre-season I've done now so I’m pleased to be back on the pitch and pleased to be healthy and feeling good.
"To be injured is not nice because you can’t help the guys on the pitch every weekend.
"Just not being part of the squad is not the best feeling but that’s how football is sometimes.
"You have a little bit of bad luck and I think when I played the 90 minutes before maybe it was a little bit too early after my long injury.
"But for me the only thing that counts now is trying to stay fit, improve my fitness levels and stay healthy, they’re the most important things."
Kirchhoff sealed Sunderland's 2-0 win in the 61st minute at Leigh Sports Village last night, combining with Rees Greenwood before smashing his shot home.
It followed a first-half goal from Seb Larsson, who was continuing his own comeback following summer knee surgery.
Kirchhoff added: "It's always good to play with these guys, they have a good mentallity, they play a nice way of football.
"They are always brave and bright on the ball.
"It's good for us to play a decent game at a good level.
"It was fun to just play football, get the ball to feet and winning a game. It was nice to get the result."