For City midfielder Mark Fotheringham, it had been a long time coming and complete with a permanent smile on his face, the former Celtic man made his long-awaited comeback last night in the second string's 5-2 success over Northampton Town.
He completed 65 minutes of the seven-goal thriller and looked lively throughout; the Scot ? brought in by former City boss Peter Grant in January – certainly didn't show too many signs of ring-rustiness.
After damaging ankle ligaments in the 2-1 home win over Southampton back in August, it would have pleased the watching Glenn Roeder to see another midfield option emerging from the shadows ? especially as Fotheringham was beginning to look the real deal before injury struck.
With the Canaries losing at half-time to a Kenwyne Jones effort, he was brought on as a half-time substitute and effectively changed the course of the match.
Committed in the tackle and industrious with his passing, it was a Mark Fotheringham-inspired City side that came back to claim the three points that day – even if two-goal hero Jamie Cureton tries to tell you otherwise.
For the Scot, it was certainly the cruellest of blows and timing of the very worst kind. But now he's back, ready to put a massive disappointment behind him.
“To be honest with you, it has been the worst three months of my career,” admitted Fotheringham.
“Sitting there watching the lads week in, week out and not being able to help them out has been tough. It has been a long time and a long wait and I'm delighted to be back. It was great to get out there and get a game under my belt.
“The injury feels great, there are no problems at all. The physios are happy with it and to be honest I think they are glad to get me out of the treatment room as I've been causing a lot of trouble up at Colney.
“But the ankle feels fine and my fitness is ok so hopefully over the coming weeks I can add that match sharpness. Saying that, when you get into the games the adrenalin kicks in so you don't notice the fitness so much.
“I'm available to play any sort of game now and that's me ? I do everything at 100% and if I'm called upon, I'll be there and ready to play. As I say, everything is feeling good and I just want to get back playing football as soon as possible.”
Looking lively and enthusiastic as always, it felt like the midfield man had never been away and it will be a huge boost to Messrs Roeder and Clark to have such an infectious character available again.
With the Canaries in their current predicament at the foot of the Championship table, they certainly don't need anybody to shy away from the battle ahead.
But with 'Fozzy', you know what you are getting. Top of the league or bottom, it doesn't matter to him; he just wants the ball ? as often as possible.
“You all know what type of player I am, I love getting on the ball and I've had a chat with the manager and he's said that we need players like that at the moment so I'm just looking forward to getting as many games as I can,” he added.
“It was a shame that I got injured when I did. I had a chat with Peter Grant in the summer and I wasn't happy playing left-midfield and I think a lot of people saw it wasn't my natural position.
“What made it more annoying was at the time I was injured, I felt I had a really good chance of playing centre-midfield this season.
“I worked very hard in the summer and it was just really frustrating that the injury came at that time and even more frustrating to be sitting on the sidelines seeing the guys and not being able to help.
“Now, I just want to carry on from where I left off in the game against Southampton.”
The landscape now looks wholly different at Carrow Road since that cameo performance in the victory over the Saints and Fotheringham is clearly upbeat at the prospect of working with new City boss Roeder.
His reputation in the game obviously spread as far and wide as Germany and Switzerland ? where the Scot was plying his trade before his move to Norfolk ? and with the bit now firmly back between his teeth, 'Fozzy' is raring to go.
“The new manager has come in and I can't wait to be honest with you. You look at the players he has brought through in his career, players like Joe Cole and Frank Lampard at West Ham, and if I can learn half of what he's taught these guys then I'll be happy.”
Asked about Roeder's right-hand man, Lee Clark, and his enthusiasm notched up another level again.
Remembering the days when Clark patrolled the midfield at Craven Cottage under Jean Tigana, you sense Fotheringham is just itching to learn off someone with vast experience in his favourite position.
Coming from someone who's known back in Scotland for his tricks and flicks, it was very refreshing to hear.
“I can remember watching Lee at Newcastle and Sunderland and obviously with Fulham under Jean Tigana and the way he played is the type of football I like to play. I can't wait to start working with them and to get back playing football.”