Millwall defender Danny Shittu feared an Achilles injury would end his career.

The imposing centre-half made a match-winning return to action on Saturday, having not featured in the Championship since March.

He powered home Shaun Williams’ corner on 54 minutes as the Lions deservedly beat Cardiff 1-0 at The Den, their first win in nine league games.  

But the 34-year-old, whose only other appearance this season came in the Capital One Cup against Wycombe in August, admitted his injury had really tested his resolve. 

Shittu revealed: “Over these last couple of months there have been times where I’ve doubted myself and thought that maybe I can’t play again.

“I’ve had to work so hard, and if you’d asked me this six weeks ago, I didn’t feel right at all.

“It’s been really hard for me, not physically but also mentally, especially at my age when you get such a serious injury - then you either crumble or work hard.

“The staff, the team and the gaffer, they’ve been working me really hard in training and know the right times to pull me out.”

He added: “I’ve felt good over the last two weeks, which is due to that work, and I feel like I can play Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday again.

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“To be back at the weekend, there was a lot of nervousness from me because all I wanted to do was win and for me not to make a mistake.

“I felt like I was playing my first game for a new team.

“It’s been a long, hard road to recovery and I’m glad to be back and part of a winning side.”

The Nigerian, known for his sizeable frame, said he likes to intimidate his opponents before the start of every game, despite feeling nervous himself on Saturday.   

He explained: “As you get older you see that people look up to you and, no matter what you feel inside, you’ve got to do what you do.

“I get to the other team in the tunnel before the game and you can see the lift that it gives the players in your side.

“Mentally, I try to get to them and that helped us on Saturday.

“It’s all a bit of intimidation but it’s of the game.

“Everyone knows I’m a nice, friendly guy afterwards, but I want my team to win.” 

Lee Gregory and Ed Upson both wasted opportunities to make the result safe but Shittu believes Millwall were more than worthy of all three points against the Bluebirds. 

He said: “We believe it should’ve been by more and we looked comfortable against an ex-Premier League side.

“We will take a lot of belief from it.  

“When the players have come in after the last couple of games, I’ve seen their frustration because we’ve been drawing games that we felt we should’ve won.

“It meant a lot to me to come out in front of the fans, work hard and get the win that we deserved.”

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