Rory McArdle may not play for Harrogate Town again until after Christmas
Rory McArdle hopes to be back in a Harrogate Town shirt before Christmas.
But, the veteran centre-half admits that his recovery from groin surgery could keep him out of action until after the New Year.
The 34-year-old former Bradford City defender started all of the Sulphurites’ first nine League Two matches of the campaign following his summer arrival from Exeter City, helping his new club to the top of the table.
Substituted at half-time during Town’s goalless draw with Stevenage at Wetherby Road on September 25 with what was initially thought to be a minor groin issue, he has however not been seen since.
A scan revealed that McArdle had suffered serious tendon damage and he went under the surgeon’s knife before the month was out.
And although he has made good progress since he was operated on, his return remains some way off.
“I felt a little bit stiff in the warm-up for the Stevenage game and as the first half went on, it wasn’t shifting, it was getting worse, so at half-time we were thinking ‘let’s not risk making it worse’,” McArdle told the Harrogate Advertiser.
“It was still sore when I came back in on the Monday so Rachel [Davis, club physiotherapist] organised a scan for me. When the results came back we saw that the tendon had come away from the bone. That was the worst case scenario.
“I saw a specialist straight away and then had surgery the next day. That was nearly five weeks ago now and I was told I was looking at 10-12 weeks out, so I’m nearly halfway through it.
“I had to have three weeks doing nothing before I could start my rehab and building it back up again and I’m prepared for a lot of hard work to get myself ready and fit enough to play football.
“It might hopefully be before Christmas, but I don’t want to say that for definite and be putting a date on it so I’m pushing too hard and trying to come back before I’m ready.”
After an extended period of inactivity, McArdle is bracing himself for a gruelling time on the training ground.
“Being able to start training again is one thing, then it’s about getting the fitness levels up so that I can play,” he added.
“I’m basically going to have to do a pre-season again to get myself fit. I’ve already been speaking to Darren Simpson [fitness coach] about what I’m going to need to be doing to get myself right again.
“It’s a frustrating time, but there are still plenty of games left this season and I’m looking forward to being able to get back and help the team.”