AFTER six months on the sidelines Jamie Holmes is back in training with Darlington, providing some much-needed light at the end of the tunnel in his comeback from a cruciate ligament injury.

The attacker sustained the injury during the first week of the season at home to Gateshead, the same match during which Luke Trotman ruptured an Achilles tendon, dreadful luck for both the club and the players concerned.

While Holmes is now kicking a ball in training again, he will have to wait before he does so in a competitive match, maybe even until next season.

“He’s back training and last week was the first time he’s touched a ball in a good six months, so he was buzzing,” said manager Alun Armstrong.

“He’d just been starting to hit that brick wall when all you’re doing is running and you can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. But now he’s got the ball at his feet, Danny the physio is doing really well with him and the kid is working really hard, he just wants to get back playing.

“I’m not going to rush him back this season, there’s no point, he’ll be like a new signing in the summer, him and Trots.”

Holmes, a former Newcastle United youngster, was one Armstrong’s summer signings from Blyth Spartans and had shone in pre-season, so it was a bitter blow when he suffered his long-term injury.

Armstrong added: “Holmesy is eager to get back, but I would never rush him because of the type of player he is.

“With the spaghetti legs he’s got you want to make sure they’re strong before he’s back playing.”

Armstrong added: “He looks after the ball extremely well, he’s a great dribbler, one of the best I’ve seen. We’ve missed him at times.

“Jarrett runs with the ball and gets us up the pitch and Justin is one to run onto the ball. Thommo and Cams run with the ball too, you need them type of players to relive the pressure and get you up the pitch, and Holmesy does that extremely well.”

In Holmes’ absence Darlington have enjoyed a season of occasional promise, currently anchored in 11th, seven points outside the play-offs ahead of this weekend’s home game with fifth-top Brackley Town.