By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor
Fit-again Gael Bigirimana is hoping to force his way back into the first-team picture at St. James' Park after making his comeback for the under-21s against Blackburn Rovers on Monday night.
The England under-20 international midfielder suffered an ankle injury in a second-string game at Tottenham in January which kept him out for six weeks before he completed just over an hour for Peter Beardsley's second-string at Ewood Park.
After an impressive debut season on Tyneside last term following his summer 2012 move from Coventry, Bigirimana has been restricted to just one senior appearance this term - August's Capital One Cup win over Morecambe.
Speaking to nufcTV this week, Bigirimana - who captained a young side in Lancashire - said: "I'm just trying to ease my way back to my fitness levels and (Monday) was a good run out.
"I'm the type of player who likes to get on the ball so for my first game back, in the first half it felt really good.
"As the minutes went on, I started losing my concentration and sometimes being a little sloppy but that's just rustiness so hopefully in training I'll get my fitness back and hopefully get ready for the first team.
"It (the injury) has been frustrating, obviously, but I've had to be patient.
"I didn't want to rush anything but I feel good and hopefully my fitness will pick up very soon.
"Last year, I did myself some justice and everybody saw what I can do. Sometimes you've just got to be patient and wait for another door to open."