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Story posted: Friday, 22nd October 2004

Rovers stunned by Belford news
Dale Belford

Dale Belford

Gresley Rovers manager Gary Norton has been rocked by the news that goalkeeper Dale Belford could be out for up to 6 months after being told he needs to have an operation on his injured back.
The surgery is planned for 3rd November.

Belford had a scan last week in Sheffield and the results have highlighted a problem that will need surgery to put right. Norton said "It's certainly not the news we were hoping for and to say Dale is devastated is an understatement. He was really performing well before the injury and loved every minute both on and off the pitch. Everyone at the Club is gutted for him. The scan has highlighted what is essentially a slipped disc and that is putting pressure on a nerve in his back and it's that that is causing the problem. If surgery is successful we could hope to see Dale back in action in around 3 months but his recovery could be as long as 6 months. We are hoping that there has been no extensive damage done to the nerve as a result of the problem. If so, that could jeopardise things even further and worst case scenario would be to rule out a return to playing all together. I'm afraid it's going to be a case of wait and see what the operation finds and what the surgeon says. He's down at the moment but Dale remains positive about the situation and I think that its the only way to be"

The news leaves Norton with a goalkeeping dilemma but one he's not phased about it "We brought Gavin Saxby in as short term cover for Dale and he's done very well for us in his games to date. One of the options we are looking at is extending Gavin's loan deal but that's just one avenue and it depends on how my discussions with David Lloyd at Alfreton go. In the meantime we look to see who else is available that we may be able to bring in as well as again considering the options of using one of our young keepers currently at the Club. Gavin's current deal has a couple of weeks to run so at least we have a little bit of time to sort things out.

Chairman Mark Evans added, "this is very disappointing news for Dale, and obviously has hit him very hard, particularly when he considers the worst case scenario. But if there is one person who I have met in football, who recognises the difference between winning mentalities as opposed to a not losing frame of mind, it is Dale Belford. He has belief, determination and strong character with a tremendous work ethic, his attitude is spot on and I have every confidence that Dale will come through this"

The Club wants to do what it can to help Dale and hopes to arrange some fund raising to help Dale with his medical expenses, which run into thousands.
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  Team P GD Pts
10 Highgate United 29 -3 38
11 South Normanton Athletic 26 0 37
12 Worcester City 26 11 36
13 AFC Wulfunians 31 -6 36
14 Coventry Sphinx 25 -19 34
15 Tividale 23 -4 27
16 Haughmond 29 -29 26
17 Racing Club Warwick 24 -29 24
18 Lye Town 28 -31 18
19 Gresley 26 -22 16
20 Selston 25 -38 13

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