Spalding United hope to have Neal Spafford back in action for next season
Spalding stalwart Neal Spafford is on course to make a playing return next season.
The popular defender – who passed 150 appearances for the Tulips last term – was sidelined for the majority of the campaign with a serious knee injury which required an operation.
However, he is now well on the road to recovery and could feature in manager Lewis Thorogood’s playing plans on the pitch in addition to his coaching role off it.
Thorogood explained: “Spaff is doing really well and he’s going to be with us in a player-coach capacity because I think he will be in a position to come back and start playing before the end of the year which is superb.
“He will be involved in some way but, the fact of the matter is, that will only be when he is ready and fully match fit.
“He’s coming back from a very big operation so we’re not going to force him into doing something that he doesn’t want to do.
“There will be games that are right for him and some that won’t be. His recovery time could also take longer after games. We won’t be throwing him in at the first time he’s says that he is ready to play.
“Spaff has a vast level of experience at this level and above so he will be used sparingly when the time is right.”
Spafford will form part of Thorogood’s managerial team along with Graham Almond, with Jordan Bates staying at the club as sports therapist.
Thorogood added: “Graham, Spaff and Jordan are an integral part of what I’m going to try and put together this season. I’ve got a really good backroom staff and team which I’m really pleased about.
“We all get on well, we know what we’re talking about and read each other’s thought process. We’ve all got each other’s backs and it’s a good atmosphere.
“It’s a good group of management and I couldn’t ask for a better team. We’ve got a good spread of experience and views.”