Hatters boss Nathan Jones was thrilled midfielder Luke Berry could make his long-awaited league comeback after almost nine months out during the club's 2-0 win over Fleetwood on Saturday.
The 26-year-old had suffered a horrific dislocated left ankle and a fractured fibula at Colchester on March 30, ruling him out of Town’s successful promotion tilt from League Two.
He then came back well ahead of schedule in the final moments of Luton’s 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat at West Bromwich Albion in August, only to pick up a knee injury that required a minor operation.
However, in stoppage time at the weekend, Berry was introduced for the final seconds, getting a wonderful ovation from the 8,500 Luton fans in attendance, with Jones saying: “It was great, he’s earned that, for what he’s been through, his performances last year, and what he’s been through now, it was nice.
"When you’re 2-0 up with three minutes to go and in relative security, it’s nice to be able to do that, just to show everyone that he is back and is back on the pitch.
"That will mean a lot to him and he’s worked so, so hard.
"He’s a big part of what we do and he’s an integral part of what we do.
"To say we’ve missed him would be detrimental to the others, but a fit Luke Berry is a massive addition to your match day squad.”
Berry came on for the outstanding Andrew Shinnie, who admitted for once, he didn’t mind leaving the field, saying: “It’s a great day to see Bez back.
"He’s worked hard, had a few knockbacks, but it’s great to see Bez back.
"I don’t like getting subbed but it’s probably one of my happier subs to come off and see Bez going on.
"He’s a talented player and it adds another player in the squad who’s got great talent and a really hard worker for the team, so it's just great for the all-round competition.”
Meanwhile, keeper James Shea added: “It’s unbelievable and great to see him back.
"He's had that brief appearance at West Brom, but to come back at home, you see what it meant to everyone, the boys were clapping him on.
"It's great to see him back and hopefully he'll stay fit now for a long time as he's going to be a massive player for us.”