FULL-BACK Chris Pennell admits he was his own worst enemy after playing through Worcester Warriors’ opening-day defeat at Bristol with a groin injury.

Pennell is desperate to leave his injury frustration behind and focus on helping Warriors into the end-of-season play-offs in the Greene King IPA Championship.

Pennell’s last start ended in disappointment when Warriors crashed to a last-gasp 23-19 defeat against title rivals Bristol in Sep - tember.

“I had a tear in my groin in the week leading up to the Bristol game and I knew I could just about get through the game,”27 year-old Pennell recalled.

“In terms of me being any - where near my best, I was far from it and it was maybe a silly call of mine to try to push myself through it.

"I would not have done myself any favours in terms of people looking at me and I would not have done any favours to the injury. I have learned from it. In hindsight, I maybe should have pulled out.

“There will be lots of guys who will go into a weekend when they won’t be anywhere near 100 per cent but we all want to play — it’s our job.

“There’s been plenty of occa - sions where I have not been 100 per cent fit and I think it’s the big - ger picture that I need to look at.

“Last season, it was about get - ting out and playing in the Pre - miership games because we were desperate for a win but this season is very different and the squad we’ve got and the talent and strength in depth.

“If I am not right then there’s other games who will do a better job than me.”

He added: “I am pretty awful at sitting back and watching, so it’s been quite testing.

“It has been a long couple of months so I am desperate to get back out and, hopefully, make a positive impact.”

Pennell had an operation on his groin to repair the damage and has been impressed with the form of his replacement, Ben Howard.

“I think Ben’s done fantastically well and it’s great to see him play with confidence,” said Pennell.

“We have all known Ben’s poten - tial and his continued progress.

“Dean Ryan is giving young - sters an opportunity and backing them and that gives them confi - dence to go out and play.

“It’s been refreshing for me to see Ben do so well.

“Ben’s still a young man with a lot to learn but the early signs are very positive for him.”

Despite being injured, the popular Pennell has remained heavily in touch with Warriors’ progress.

“I have been to the home games and listened to coverage of the away games on the radio when I can.

“I have been supporting the boys and in a position where I can chip in with advice or add to things that I have seen. It’s im - portant that guys who are not on the field remain involved.

“Everyone knows they have a responsibility to each other and to help move the club forward.”

Pennell has also paid tribute to Warriors’ medical team and, in particular, Mike Lancaster.

“We have got a fantastic medi - cal team at Warriors and they have looked after me really well, with Mike Lancaster in particu - lar.

“We have been in the gym or seeing the physio when the other players were out on the train - ing pitch. When you’re injured you do fitness almost every day. I would argue that, from a physical aspect, it’s harder being injured as well as a mental one.

“Hopefully, I can hit the ground running.”