Portsmouth midfielder Wes Fogden has said playing first-team football again following a serious knee injury gives him a feeling of self-worth.
The midfielder came off the bench for his first appearance of the season in the League Two loss at Northampton.
"All you want to do when you're a pro footballer is to play football - that's your job," he told BBC Radio Solent.
"When you're not doing that job you feel a bit worthless, so to be back out there gives me a sense of living."
Fogden damaged an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during pre-season training last July.
And the 26-year-old had a chance to equalise for Portsmouth shortly after his introduction, but fired over from Jed Wallace's cross.
Former Portsmouth striker Ricky Holmes scored the only goal at Sixfields to end Northampton's seven-match unbeaten run.
"Obviously, coming on at 1-0 down isn't ideal, but it was a chance to create something and get back level," said Fogden.
"Unfortunately I just missed the target, but hopefully next time it goes in the back of the net."