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‘I never contemplated retirement.’ King’s Lynn Town talisman Michael Gash relishes return

todayNovember 29, 2020 42

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King’s Lynn Town’s Michael Gash says retirement never entered his mind as he made a welcome return to first-team action at the weekend.

The forward was a late substitute in the Linnets’ FA Cup defeat to Portsmouth yesterday, as he continues his recovery from the illness that has seen him sidelined for the entire campaign so far.

And he said it was “fantastic” to get back on the field at Fratton Park.

Michael Gash was back in first team action for King's Lynn Town against Portsmouth. Picture: Tim Smith (43327957)
Michael Gash was back in first team action for King’s Lynn Town against Portsmouth. Picture: Tim Smith (43327957)

He said: “It’s been a long time coming. Obviously everybody knows I’ve had a few problems but, to get back out there, come here and get 10 or 15 minutes was a great feeling.”

The 34-year-old has been a talismanic figure in Lynn’s promotion successes during recent seasons.

But he spent nearly three weeks in hospital during August and September, initially with pancreatitis before he was diagnosed with an auto-immune condition related to low haemoglobin levels in the blood.

Yet, despite describing the pain he felt from the pancreatitis as the worst he had ever experienced, he says his mind was always fixed on getting back to playing again.

He said: “It could have come up (retirement). I just thought about doing everything right to get back to the best of my ability.

“I feel like I’m there now. It’s just getting on the field, getting minutes and getting that bit fitter.”

Gash has been working on his own programme to get back to fitness, as well as joining the squad in training where he can.

And he admitted it had been a long way back after losing a lot of weight and muscle.

“I always just thought about getting back to full health, which is the most important thing. It was tough and it was a long road back to it, but I never thought I might not play again.

“I always thought as soon as I could get back to, you know, slowly, going for a walk, a 2 or 3k walk, and then building that up to a slow jog, I was doing that and I wanted to go quicker but, bodywise, I knew I couldn’t. I just had to take things slowly.”

And he is relishing the competition for places in the Linnets line-up all over the pitch.

He said: “This season, we’ve kind of been hit and miss, but we’ve now got four good strikers at the club, so it’s tough. We’ve got a bench that’s full of good players.

“Times have changed. When I first came here, we sometimes couldn’t fill the bench and some people might come on and not make an impact but now, you look at the bench and you look at people in the stand, it’s a great squad the gaffer’s put together.

“It’s going to be tough but that’s what he wants, that’s what the players want. They want competition and it’s only going to be good for the club, good for the players to make themselves better.

“I’ve now got to work my way into the team, work hard and get that shirt, but it’s going to be tough.”

Manager Ian Culverhouse said it was “nice” to have Gash back in the squad and hopes to have him in his squad again for the clash with Bromley on Tuesday.

He said: “He’s been colossal for this football club. We’re very, very glad that he’s coming back and now it’s about drip-feeding him in and trying to get him game minutes.”

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