Albion's defender praised the club's fans during his rehabilitation.
Brighton & Hove Albion defender Gaetan Bong expressed his gratitude to the club’s fans after making his return from injury in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Cardiff City yesterday.
The Cameroonian international featured alongside the likes of Niki Maenpaa, Inigo Calderon, Gordon Greer, Jiri Skalak, Kazenga LuaLua and James Wilson in the 0-0 draw, to make his first appearance in over four months following a hamstring injury.
He told seagulls.co.uk, “When I had this type of injury before, I was playing in France and I had my friends and family close to me.
“I had an injury before and came back stronger. The only thing that can stop you is your mind and you have to come back stronger and always look forward. That’s the most important thing for the rest of the season.
“I’m happy to be back because it’s the most important thing for the team and the fans. They send me messages every day. I know that the fans are behind me and they wanted me to come back.
“I want to say thank you to them because I received a lot of messages on Twitter. It wasn’t easy to have this injury, but when the people are behind you, they push you and it makes you want to give your best for the team.”
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The 27-year-old says he felt no ill-effects from the game and feels that the match was an invaluable exercise going into the business end of the season.
“I injured my hamstring, but I feel better now. I came back a bit late, because I injured the ligament and I needed to do a bit more work. Now I am happy because I feel better and I can play again.
“It was a game just to get minutes, regain the sensation from playing and to experience the difficulties you encounter in a game, because it’s not the same in training.
“This was a hard game because even though it’s a friendly, you can still make a mistake or have an injury if you don’t give 100 per cent. You have to keep your focus.”
Bong is now eager to re-establish his place in the side and is relishing the competition for places in the defensive positions.
“It’s normal to have competition at any team. The only thing is that everyone needs to give their best every day in training and in the games. We need to keep working hard to achieve our objective.
“We are lucky now because we’ve had our hard moment and it was difficult to watch the team then. Now I’m happy to come back and help the team.”