‘Emotional’ Simpson makes long-awaited return to side

Crawley Town V Brighton & Hove Albion 23/7/14 - Crawley's Josh Simpson in possesion in the Brighton area (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-140724-010551002

Crawley Town V Brighton & Hove Albion 23/7/14 - Crawley's Josh Simpson in possesion in the Brighton area (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-140724-010551002

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Popular midfielder Josh Simpson received a hero’s welcome from supporters as he played his first Crawley game for six months.

The longest-serving player at the club has suffered from a recurring hamstring problem that has kept him out of action for six months.

And the former club captain has even been placed on the transfer list in a season that has not gone to plan for Simpson.

But he played a vital role in Reds’ win over County before being replaced by Gwion Edwards after 70 minutes.

“It’s been tough,” Simpson said.

“It’s been hard being in the stands and being a supporter, not being able to contribute.

“But fortunately I’m back fit and hopefully I can contribute to the team and hopefully keep the club up.

“I’ve had to spend countless hours in the gym trying to work on my strength, it’s been hard.

“The amount of times I have been out there trying to push through and push it and it’s not quite right, and there have been times in the season when I thought I would be back and I wasn’t.”

He admitted the reception he received from fans on his return to the starting lineup was ‘emotional’.

He said: “I’m so pleased to finally be out here and the reception I got when I came off the pitch was great, it was emotional.

“To see me in the starting 11, I was a bit apprehensive but when I got out there it was fine.

“The passion out there was brilliant, every player gave it their all.”