It has been a long road of recovery for Wassim Aouachria.
The 20-year-old, former Algerian youth international suffered an ACL injury while training with the first team in pre-season last year and was out for more than a year.
After such a long spell on the sidelines, the striker couldn’t have hoped for a better evening on Tuesday.
Lee Bowyer handed him his first-team debut in the Papa John’s Trophy against Leyton Orient and Aouachria topped a special night with a 12th minute goal.
Speaking after the game he was pleased with his goal but also pleased to see a great all around team performance.
He said: “I’m very happy for the win, because I think that was a great team performance. We had a young side but the boys were brilliant and I am really happy to score on my debut.”
The striker rushed in at the back post to convert a cross/shot across goal by Albie Morgan. He explained that having played with Morgan since his arrival at the club, in January 2019, helped him know where and when to make his run.
He said: “I’ve been playing with Albie for a while. I know him so I just went there. I got lucky but that’s a goal, so I’ll take that.”
While Aouachria is targeting minutes in the first team in the future, he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself. For the moment, he is pleased to be back playing after his long spell on the sidelines.
“It made me stronger,” he explained “but I still have a long way [to go]. To score on my debut made me happy of course and I think it will help with the confidence.”