Steve made his first start since the trip to Birmingham on the last day of last season after complications following an ankle injury and then, inevitably, various muscle strains since coming back into full training and getting a couple of substitute appearances.
Add illness to the list of misfortunes, and it is clear that Steve deserved a change of luck, and the crunching tackles that he got in early on against Derby signalled his intent to make an impression as the season reaches a climax.
"I was disappointed with the result, but it was nice to get back," he says.
"I didn't think I would probably play the full game, and I was a little bit out of puff at the end."
The fans cheered his name long and loud when it was read out - and clearly enjoyed seeing his combative style once more.
"It was very nice to get a good reception after toiling away for so long to get back - and it is good to see a bit of light at the end of the tunnel," says Steve.
"Hopefully we'll be involved in the play-offs and I will get some more games to test my fitness - and hopefully we'll go all the way.
"My main aim is to test it this season and then get a good pre-season to be raring to go for the next campaign.
"I have been frustrated, but you have to put it into the context that I have been out for a long time.
"Now I have got a full game under my belt and it is all about building up your strength - but it will take me a while to get back to full fitness.
"The ankle operation was never a major procedure but because it wasn't done properly the first time it became a big clean-up and it is in good shape.
"I am optimistic and I hope that we can make the play-offs to prolong what has otherwise been a short season for me.
"There is a big incentive for the lads to get to the Millennium stadium and the Premiership - a lot of them haven't played in the top flight, and it is the place to be."
Steve concedes that the stalemate against Derby was frustrating and says:
"We could have done with an early goal and that probably would have settled everyone down.
"The crowd were rightly anxious because they thought we would turn Derby over - but they have been on a bit of an upturn."
As for his chances of playing against Palace, he concludes:
"I will see how I feel and what the gaffer thinks."