MIDFIELDER Will Hatfield is set to hand Guiseley a timely boost by returning to the fray next month.
The 26-year-old, whose early performances earned praise from Lions chief Paul Cox during the first part of his reign, has been out of action since October, having undergone groin surgery in early November.
Hatfield is now stepping up his rehabilitation with a view to making his first-team comeback, hopefully next month.
The ex-Accrington player will speak to his surgeon next week and is hopeful of returning to training next week.
Hatfield told the YEP: “I have been running for a couple of weeks now and I am seeing my surgeon next week, so I am hoping that I will be back in full training next week.
“Since the operation, it has been nine weeks and there were a couple of weeks out before it where they did not really know what was going on with it.
“It has been about three months out so far and it has been a long time. It is my abductor on my right groin and it is called abductor avulsion with the muscle tearing off the bone and it is a case of re-attaching it.
“But it is feeling as good as ever now.
“The sooner I can get back, the better. That is the main thing; I want to get back fit and then help the team as much as possible and hopefully I can do. I have really missed playing and watch to get back out there and I am trying my best to do that.
“I am hoping to be back in the fray for selection in the middle of February.”
On a frustrating time, compounded by Guiseley’s tough sequence of results over the past few months, Hatfield added: “It has been very frustrating. Especially with the transition of what has been happening with the manager bringing players in and going full-time and everything that is going on at the club at the moment.
“I did get a taste of it when the new manager came in and was enjoying it and we were doing well. Unfortunately, since I have got injured, we have dipped in form a bit and it has been hard to watch, to be fair.”
Second-from-bottom Guiseley are in parlous position in the bottom four of the National League and face having to complete a successful Great Escape mission for the third season running to maintain their divisional status.
The statistics indicate that this season’s quest is perhaps the most arduous yet, but Hatfield is not losing hope.
He added: “In the last two years I have been here, it has been like this, unfortunately. But we have managed to escape it.
“If you look at the table, we are obviously in a bad situation. But if you get two or three wins on the bounce, which we are capable of doing, it can soon change around quickly.
“We need to get some momentum going and with the squad we have got, we are more than capable of doing that, definitely.”
With Guiseley having gone full-time, Hatfield is also turning his mind to his own situation, although his first concern is getting back to match fitness.
He said: “It has been a bit tricky for myself due to being injured. But I have been going in during the day with the lads and also been in part-time with the lads and I am hoping to resolve the situation once I am back up for selection and we will go from there and we will see.”
Meanwhile, Guiseley have signed 22-year-old goalkeeper Luke Coddington on loan for the season from Northampton.