Tom Bender admits he loves it at Accrington – despite his infamous start to life at the Crown Ground.
The on-loan Colchester defender got lots of publicity after he suffered a serious head injury in the abandoned Johnstone’s Paint Trophy home clash with Tranmere in early October.
He was diagnosed with just severe concussion – a relief after fears of worse – but it has been a long road back for the teenager who has had to be patient.
He finally played his first game of meaningful football when he came on as a second-half substitute at Notts County in the FA¿Cup loss on Saturday.
"I love it here and I love it up north," said Bender. "I think I prefer it to Essex – especially with that Towie programme!
"But it was nice to play again on Saturday. I wanted to come back a week after it happened but I had to take advice and I know it was the correct thing to do.
"I was glad to get out there although it wasn’t about me playing, it was about the result and unfortunately we didn’t get the result we wanted.
"Everyone was unhappy in the dressing room after the game as, at 1-0 down at half-time, we were still very much in it but we conceded early in the second half and it was disappointing for us.
"Proc’s sending off was dubious and it was frustrating as it was a big competition for us as we needed the money but it didn’t go our way.
"We didn’t put in our best performance and now we are out."
Bender’s aim is now to establish himself as a first team regular and be remembered at Stanley for more than the injury.
"For me now, I want to stay in the team. I didn’t come here to make the numbers up, I am here until the end of the season and I want to play.
"Hopefully I did okay when I came on, tried my best and showed what I can do.
"The injury – a big deal was made of it but it’s over now – and for me, it was over the minute it happened as I can’t remember any of it. I just wanted to be back playing and now I am.
"Now we need to move on from the Notts County result. It won’t be forgotten but we need to concentrate on the next game which is Macclesfield away and focus on trying to win that."