Jordan Tunnicliffe reveals how he dealt with five-month injury lay off - 'You've always got that hint of jealousy'

Crawley Town defender Jordan Tunnicliffe was pleased with his individual performance against Tranmere, as he made his long-awaited return from injury.

Tunnicliffe started this afternoon (Saturday, January 22) for the first time since the opening day of the season at Hartlepool on August 7. He was replaced after just 32 minutes that day.

Injuries to his ankle and knee have kept him out for five months and the defender admitted it was 'tough' to be sidelined for so long.

"As a footballer, you want to be out there playing games," he told the Observer. "Watching from the side, you fully support the lads but you've always got that hint of jealousy.

Jordan Tunnicliffe started against Tranmere on Saturday afternoon for the first time since the opening day of the season at Hartlepool on August 7. Photo: Cory Pickford

"You want to be back out there.

"With the help of the fitness coach and physios, they give you a programme and fitness work. It's tough but you always have a goal to aim for.

"Mentally, that's really good for you. It's been a long road but one that's come to an end and I'm happy about that."

Tranmere took all three points this afternoon after Jay Spearing's free kick beat Glenn Morris via deflection.

It was harsh on Crawley who defended resolutely throughout, although they were largely toothless going forward. Click here to recap the action as it happened.

Assessing his own performance, Tunnicliffe said: "I think I done well.

"I didn't go into today expecting to set the world alight. I've been out a long time.

"It's just disappointing we didn't win the game. I would rather have played a bit worse but got the three points."

Crawley boss John Yems struggled to find any positives from the team performance but Tunnicliffe was encouraged by some aspects.

"I think you can [take the positives]," he said. "They [Tranmere] are second in the table.

"We will have learned a few things off them. I fully believe we are as good as them."

Tunnicliffe, however, felt that it was a 'sloppy goal' to concede.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: "I'm really pleased to be back personally but I don't want to be back losing football matches. I want to be winning, especially in front of the home support.

"I've been so excited to come back.

"There wasn't much in the game. That's the fine margins of football. It could have been 0-0 and we've drawn with second in the league.

"You've got to respect Tranmere at the end of the day. They have turned up here with a great defensive record. They have done it to a lot of teams this season.

"The gaffer said we are the home team and we should be pushing on a lot more. The lads probably agree and hopefully we will be able to do that next game."

Whilst he's been sidelined, Tunnicliffe said his teammates have been a 'joy to watch', adding: "Some of the results haven't been great but it's been attacking football.

"Today was one of them days where we didn't create many chances. They were very good defensively but that's part of football.

"We will work on that on the training ground. I've got full confidence in the attacking and midfield players."