Player of year aims for Blues return

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PLAYER of the year Alex White is hoping to return from the knee injury that’s plagued him for most of the season, when Whitby Town host AFC Fylde for the first time ever, this weekend.

The central defender, who cleaned up with players’, supporters’ and website honours at May’s awards, told the Whitby Gazette: “I should be in contention for Saturday, I’ll hopefully be right to come back into the squad.”

The 25-year old suffered the problem at the end of September, during the 4-3 FA Cup victory over Droylsden.

Since then, he’s played eight games, but hasn’t been the same, after jarring his left knee.

“I went into a tackle and I went to turn quickly,” White revealed.

“It’s damaged my knee on the outside lateral ligament. The worst injury I’ve had is a broken foot. I broke two metatarsals, when I was at Ilkeston Town, about three or four years ago, that was the last injury I had.”

White has missed the last three games, but hopes that Thursday’s session with physio Kenny Bolton is his last and he’ll later be training with the rest of the Blues’ squad. However, the ex-Blyth player’s also concerned about a factor he has no control over.

“The weather’s only going to get worse, up until Christmas,” he said.

“Eric’s done a great job on the pitch up to now, so hopefully, he’ll be able to sort it out for Saturday.”

White’s absence coincided with fellow centre-half Kev Burgess fracturing his foot and led to player-manager Darren Williams bringing in Arjun Purewal (23) on a month’s loan from Darlington 1883.

White rates the newcomer, who helped the Blues keep a clean sheet against Matlock Town. The former Stranraer man thinks it’ll be hard work to force his way back in, following last week’s performance.

“The back four particularly, for me, were outstanding – some of the defending was fantastic. Arj has come in and done very well. It’s good for the club and it’s good for me, because it’s competition, isn’t it.”

Tenth-placed Fylde are in a false position. They’ve fallen behind on league games, due to being the division’s only side to reach the first round proper of the FA Cup, losing 4-1 to League Two Accrington Stanley.

They’re unbeaten away from home in the NPL Premier and have six games in hand on leaders North Ferriby United, who they trail by 17 points.

The North West club, like the Blues, are former FA Vase winners and were previously known as Kirkham and Wesham. They changed their name in 2008 to reflect the wider Fylde Coast area, which covers Blackpool, Fleetwood and Lytham St Annes.

Last season’s First Division North champions also have plans to reach the Conference Premier within five years and the Football League by 2022.

Earlier this season, the Coasters, who are managed by ex-Tranmere Rovers star Dave Challinor, defeated Town 4-3 at their Kellamergh Park home, despite goals from Burgess, White and Graeme Armstrong.

Admission at the Turnbull Ground, tomorrow, is £9 for adults, £5 concessions and just £2 for under 18s. Under 16s are free, when accompanied by a paying adult. Kick-off is the usual 3pm.