Tony has played two training ground games over the past two weeks, but the reserve game against Leicester was the litmus test for the talented central defender who made such an impression during the latter half of last season.
The former Port Vale player pulled all the strings and marshalled the defence for Colin Calderwood’s side and his return, along with that of Ben Thatcher, will be a major boost for Glenn over the coming weeks.
“I’m a bit tired now,” confessed Tony after the game. “It was only my third game back and a first league game — the other two were training ground games where the pace is not as quick.
“I’ve played the full game in all of them and it is pleasing just to get through it without injuries. It’s all about fitness at the moment.”
The pleasing aspect of Tony coming through such a game is that he reports no ill effects from his injury.
“No reaction at all, which is a good sign. Normally you tend to get other niggles after a long injury, but there has been no other niggles at all so that’s good.”
Tony was named in the squad for Saturday’s trip to Liverpool, an added tonic for the young defender knowing that he is still in the thinking of the management.
“I was in the squad on Saturday but wasn’t sub and was sitting in the stand. It was nice to know that I am still in their thoughts. Sometimes you don’t know when you have been out for a while.
“The gaffer, John and Chris have said don’t rush and come back when I am fit and ready.”
As Tony completes his rehabilitation, the competition increases for a central defensive berth with the arrival of Dean Richards — a move that Tony totally endorses, though realises that breaking through might be a bit tougher.
“I know, we’ve got another centre half. But we needed a bit more experience at the back when Sol went. It’s a straight replacement for him so I’m not worried about that.”
By Richard Hubbard
Anthony Gardner completed his first competitive match since suffering a knee injury at the end of last term and he reported his only ailment as tiredness.