Paul Coutts says the support he received from Sheffield United during an 11 month battle against injury has only served to strengthen his emotional attachment to the club.
The midfielder made his second appearance since recovering from a broken leg during yesterday's 1-0 victory over Hull City, which saw Chris Wilder's side enter the international break on top of the Championship table.
Speaking after the match, his first appearance at Bramall Lane after being declared fit, Coutts said: "I have had injuries in the past, but the way I have been dealt with by everyone at the club has been different class. I have not been forgotten about, which can easily happen with a long-term injury.
"I had a good relationship with the club and fans anyway, but the support I have had has been second to none, it’s been unbelievable. Both me and my family have been really delighted with it."
Coutts, aged 30, returned to first team action when United visited Blackburn Rovers four days ago before being introduced again midway through the second-half of the meeting with Nigel Adkins' side.
Reflecting upon his battle for fitness after being diagnosed with a fractured tibia, he admitted: "I was quite nervous to go back out there, it’s been a long time. I just wanted to get that done, and focus on getting back in the side, rather than the sideshow of making a return.
"It’s been a tough year. It’s probably taken a bit longer than I would have hoped for.
"Hopefully it makes you stronger as you go forward. Everyone at the club, from the fans to the manager, medical staff, fitness coach, team-mates, they have all been superb and patient with me and pushed me along. It was good to get back out there, at Bramall Lane, again."
United's next match is against Coutts' former club Derby County, who are seventh following a 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers.
"We go into games expecting to do well," he said. "The gaffer has not set us any points targets this week. "We just went game to game, from Millwall to Blackburn and then today. We have picked up maximum points and we will just carry on with that style of thinking."