EBBSFLEET manager Steve Brown said defender Yado Mambo breathed a huge sigh of relief after taking to the field for the first time in seven months on Tuesday.
Following a summer knee operation, the former Charlton academy graduate played 73 minutes as the Fleet beat Whitstable 2-0 to reach the final of the Kent Senior Cup.
And Brown admitted the minutes for Mambo were one of the biggest positives to come out of Tuesday evening.
“It isn’t very nice being out for that period of time,” said the Ebbslfeet boss.
“I have had an 18-month spell out of the game myself.
“It is very frustrating and a worrying time because you are never quite sure how you will react physically, not just in terms of your aerobic fitness but in terms of your injury.
“So it was great for Yado to get through the 70 minutes and there were no repercussions.
“He got his treatment after the game to make sure the injury was looked after and he will now hopefully go on from strength to strength both physically and aerobically.”
The difficulty for Brown now is finding Mambo the game time to get him up to match speed.
“He is one of those players who needs constant training and games to get him up and it will probably take him a little bit longer than other players,” the Fleet boss said.
“Mentally I think he is in a good place and he has got through that 70 minutes, so that is the first hurdle done and dusted.
“It is just a case trying to work Yado as hard as we can.
“He will get fitter and fitter, but the difficulty for us as a football club was there was no way to get Yado minutes.
“I can only play him in the Kent Senior Cup games, throw him into a first team game, or I’ve got to loan him out.
“That is the frustration that we have got at the moment.”
Mambo played 15 times for Shrewsbury in League One last season and Brown said he knows the defender is capable of playing above Conference South level.
The Fleet chief added: “He can be as good as he wants to be as long as that injury recovers, which we fully expect it to.
“We would be kidding ourselves if we didn’t think we were a stepping-stone for Yado, but it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
“If we are fortunate enough to perhaps get out of this league then Yado may want to stay.
“We also appreciate that if we don’t, not just Yado but other players that have performed extremely well this year, could want to move on.”
Follow us on Twitter @NewsShopperSprt