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Page last updated at 12:34 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 13:34 UK

Returning Heckingbottom 'careful'

Paul Heckingbottom
Heckingbottom started his career at Sunderland

Mansfield defender Paul Heckingbottom has admitted that he still has work to do as he continues his recovery from a long-term hamstring injury.

The 32-year-old played his first game for 11 months when he made his Stags debut in the 1-0 win over Forest Green Rovers at Field Mill on Saturday.

Heckingbottom told BBC Radio Nottingham: "If I'm not careful, playing games could set me back.

"I've still got to get my rehab right and make sure I keep progressing."

The former Bradford man joined Mansfield in June after being out of action since November 2008.

"No-one's worked harder than me while I've been injured," he added.

"I've been in the gym every day doing double sessions.

"Hopefully if I do things right I should keep getting better and fitter every week."

Stags manager David Holdsworth said that Heckingbottom has already demonstrated qualities that his side have been missing this season.

"I thought he showed the quality that he's got. He was calm, assured and he talked," said Holdsworth.

"In the last six games we haven't had everything go our way.

"We need leaders and experience, and Paul certainly brings that to the side."



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