AFTER almost six months out of the Swindon Town side, Alex Smith was relieved to finally get the chance to play competitive football in the goalless draw at Bristol City on Saturday.

Smith underwent knee surgery after picking up an injury during the League Cup victory at QPR in August and, despite returning to training in January, he only made his first-team comeback as a substitute at Ashton Gate at the weekend.

It marked the culmination of a long and, in the utility player’s own words, boring process of rehabilitation and reintegration, and the former Fulham man is now hoping to earn more gametime between now and the season’s end.

He told the Advertiser: “It’s been tough to deal with because I’ve been wanting to play football and I haven’t played in coming up on six months. It’s been frustrating but today’s the first step and hopefully I’ll get a few more minutes between now and the end of the season.

“I had a job to do when I came on. We were defending and I just had to make sure I did my job and played my part.

“It’s tough but you have to stay motivated, you have to think about what you want to achieve in the game and getting back on the pitch. I think the thought of getting back on the pitch is enough to motivate me day in, day out to make sure, when I’m called upon, I’m ready.

“It gets very boring doing your own work but I’ve been training for a couple of months now, waiting patiently to get the chance to show what I can do.”