GARY BROWN has completed his rehabilitation from an ankle injury and will leave Darlington on loan to complete his return from injury.
The defender has not kicked a ball since being injured in the dying seconds of a pre-season friendly at Gateshead last summer.
Such was the severity of the injury, sustained when tackling Marcus Maddison, he was not expected to return until the end of the season.
But Brown, Quakers’ captain, has shown a keen desire to be back ahead of schedule and manager Martin Gray is delighted with the progress of a player that was a mainstay of the side which won promotion last season.
Gray said: “He’s had three or four good training sessions with us over the past few weeks so he’s ready to play now.
“Mind, if you’d asked him he would’ve said he was ready to play at Christmas.
“That’s what he’s like, he’s determined, he’s a winner.
He’s a tough lad and his attitude has been brilliant during his rehab, but we’ve had to put the reins on him a bit.
“He’ll go out on loan and play two or three games, just to get him back into things and see how he goes.
“We don’t want him playing 90 minutes straight away, maybe 20 minutes, or 45 to begin with.”
With Chris Hunter and Alan White having become Darlington’s defensive duo, Brown will join a Northern League side in order to ease himself back into action.
“He’s done very well in his rehabilitation and Steve Wood, the physio, deserves a lot of credit too,” added Gray.
“He’s worked one on one with Gary and put a lot of time and effort in to get Gary back.
“The specialists did a very good job too because it was quite a complex operation he had, but he’s come back six weeks ahead of schedule.”
Darlington hope to play their first game for three weeks tomorrow when they travel to third-bottom Radcliffe Borough.