Carlton Cole was all smiles after making his second West Ham United debut in Sunday's 0-0 draw at Swansea City.
The England international got his first taste of competitive action since re-signing for the Hammers two weeks ago when he entered the fray as a 63rd-minute sub for Mo Diame. Cole admitted he was delighted to pull on the claret and blue shirt again after a month of hard work in the Chadwell Heath gym.
"It was really good to be out there again," Cole told West Ham TV. "I was disappointed we didn't win but we were away from home so you can't ask for much more than getting a clean sheet.
"The boys have been doing well and we've got to give credit to them for only conceding one goal away from home so far this season. It's a huge credit to all the playing staff and the management as well.
"I'm chuffed to get back and to be involved in it again. Any footballer will tell you that have to work hard and the manager has noticed that I was working hard and has given me a new deal. Hopefully I can push on from here and add to the team and play a significant role."
Cole marked his first debut for West Ham with a goal against Charlton Athletic back in 2006 and came close to repeating that feat in the dying minutes of his second debut on Sunday. James Tomkins' deep free-kick was expertly flicked on by the new Hammers No24, but Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm was on hand to collect the ball on the line.
"I had a couple of chances. One I put on the far stick for Jarvo [Matt Jarvis] but on another day I might have waited and volleyed it myself. The second one was a long ball and I was hoping it would come off my bonce and fly into the top corner. I had already pictured it going in and was getting ready to go off and celebrate but it wasn't to be.
"We just couldn't get the goal in the first half. Then we pushed on in the second half with the changes we made. Me and the other boys that came on pushed as much as we could to get the goal but we were just unlucky."
The striker will have little time to reflect on what might have been, as there will be just one day of training on Monday before a Capital One Cup tie at Burnley on Tuesday evening. With just 48 hours between the two games, Big Sam is likely to make changes to his starting XI and Cole is hoping to be one of those brought into the side.
"The next game we've got is Burnley and hopefully we can get goals there. Everyone knows I need minutes for match fitness. Sunday was a good start on my way to recovery. I'm now hoping to get the minutes and the goals to get us through to the next round if I can."