Bury Town manager Richard Wilkins has backed Billy Clark to return stronger than ever after being ruled out of action for several months.
The former Ipswich Town midfielder had his worst fears confirmed at a scan this week, with doctors telling him he had ruptured his cruciate knee ligament after being stretchered off against Wingate and Finchley on March 15.
But boss Wilkins, who overcame a similar problem to play seven more years as a professional, hopes to have the Blues’ talisman back for at least part of next season.
“I know people who have come back from similar injuries in six months,” said the former Colchester United captain, who conceded it usually took a minimum of nine months to overcome such an injury. “It depends when he has the operation and how things go with it.”
Clark signed for Bury in October 2011 and, after initially struggling to adapt to life outside of professional football, has gone on to become one of the Blues’ key players.
He also has an eye for goal and has netted 32 times in 93 appearances, a record that could have been even better had a broken ankle not stopped him in his tracks after a blistering start to the 2012/13 campaign.
“We wish him a speedy recovery,” added Wilkins, who said the club would support Clark as much as they could, like they did when Elliot Hunter and Callum Kearns suffered similar injuries.
As a former professional with the Tractor Boys, Clark should have part of the cost of his knee operation covered by the Professional Footballers’ Association.
Clark posted on Twitter: “No football for me for one year. Devastated.”
The Blues, whose skipper Tom Bullard became a father on Wednesday, travel to Kingstonian today (Saturday) (3pm) and Dulwich Hamlet on Tuesday (7.45pm).