Conor Grant admitted it was ‘an amazing feeling’ to make his comeback from long-term injury in Plymouth Argyle’s 2-0 win away to Accrington Stanley, which returned them to the top of League One.
He capped it off by scoring the Pilgrims’ second goal in the 78th minute, just a short while after he had been sent on as a substitute by manager Steven Schumacher.
It was Grant’s first game since he suffered a torn this muscle during the FA Cup first round defeat away to Grimsby Town in early November.
Grant also missed the first two months of the season due to injury so it was understandable he felt emotional about his goalscoring comeback against Accrington.
He said: “It was a special night, an amazing feeling to be back. Just to be back on the pitch was good enough alone but to cap it off with a goal was amazing.
“I was a bit emotional because of the journey it has been like to get back. I was questioning at times whether I was going to get them moments again.”
His first goal since scoring in a 2-0 home league win against Morecambe in March 2022 came with a low angled drive past Accrington goalkeeper Toby Savin after he was set up for the chance by Danny Mayor.
Grant said: “Danny has picked it up and does what he does. He drives at the player and I have just got to run forward at a decent speed and you know he’s going to slide you in to perfection, and he done that.
“I wasn’t sure whether to play it across to Ryan (Hardie) or get it out of my feet and shoot. I done the latter and I was happy I did.
The 27-year-old added: “In recent years I have definitely added more goals to my game. I want to continue to add more because I feel I can.”
Grant had his parents watching in the crowd at the Wham Stadium and he also had close links to Accrington manager John Coleman and first team coach John Doohan.
“John Coleman and John Doolan are close family friends so it’s always a bit of a strange game to be honest in terms of that,” said Grant.
“You have got to sort of put that emotion aside. They have been amazing for me throughout my life and I appreciate the help that they have done for me.
“But, obviously, once we cross the white line we are all winners, we just want to win, so it’s a bit of a mixture of emotions. I was just delighted to get back on the pitch.”
Grant came off the bench in the 74th minute, with Argyle leading 1-0 against 10-man Accrington but having to defend more than they would have wanted, as he took over the left wing-back position from Bali Mumba.
“I always prepare as if I’m going to start,” he said. “Then as the game is going against 10 men I was thinking ‘There could be a chance here’ and thankfully there was.
“I just go into a zone where it’s about doing my job, almost going back into the basics of what I know and trying to contribute.
“They (Accrington) got a lot more pressure on our goal so that was the message from the manager, to try and come on and steady it down a bit and get on the ball.”
Grant’s second goal gave Argyle the breathing space they needed and while it was not a good performance from then overall they were still able to secure an important victory in their push for promotion.
“All that matters at this stage of the season is winning games,” he said. “You can play however you want but as long as you get the three points that’s all that people remember.”
Argyle now turn their attention to their next game, which is the Papa Johns Trophy final against Bolton Wanderers at Wembley on Sunday, April 2, so Grant has timed his return to action well.
Grant said: “We have got a good build-up which we can enjoy, and get good training and preparation in, and then go and have a good day at Wembley.
“I couldn’t have written it better, to be honest. I’m just unbelievably grateful to be back out there and whatever happens, happens.”
Argyle have sold 36,000 tickets for just the club’s third ever match at Wembley and Grant declared: “It’s phenomenal. They support us in amazing numbers and we didn’t really doubt that we would sell that many tickets because of how good they are.
“It’s going to be a special day and I know Bolton will sell similar so it’s going to be an amazing atmosphere and definitely one to cherish.”
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