CRAIG MAHON says it’s a ‘fantastic feeling’ to pull the Chester shirt on once again after a long injury lay-off.

The 28-year-old suffered a serious hip injury last season which restricted the winger to just three substitute appearances from December onwards, as he watched on in frustration as the Blues slid down the National League standings.

Now back in full training, Mahon started Monday’s 3-1 pre-season win at Bala Town and couldn’t hide his delight in being back in Jon McCarthy’s line-up.

“It’s fantastic to be back in the dressing room and putting the jersey on beforehand, it’s a great feeling,” the popular midfielder explained.

“I love playing for this club and I’ve missed it a lot over these past months. To be back out there again and not having to watch on the sidelines, being able to go out and put the effort in for the lads and the gaffer, there’s no better feeling.

“That was my first 45 minutes since December 10, I got through it and I don’t feel too bad so two or three more games and my touch will be sorted and I can get back out there causing havoc!

“It’s frustrating when you’re injured but to be around this club and the group of players here, it puts a smile on your face each day when you’re injured.

“To be back out there with the boys, back out playing football, there’s nothing better and it’s a great feeling.”

Last night’s trip to Witton Albion was the Blues’ sixth pre-season fixture so far, and with Walsall visiting the Swansway Chester tomorrow (3pm), the Irishman feels the increasingly strong nature of the opposition on offer can only help the Blues.

“Bala had played a few more matches than us and with European games so they were a bit sharper than us,” he added.

“I’ve only trained twice myself so I was just happy to come through it and do well for the team.

“The opposition seems to be getting tougher each game and that’s what we want as we prepare for the season.

“As you can see, it’s getting tougher and harder, I’m looking forward to those tests though and hopefully we can keep getting results.”