ANTHONY PILKINGTON is a surprise contender to face Leyton Orient in Town’s final match of the League I campaign in London next Saturday.
As Andy Booth prepared for his final home game before retirement against Brighton this afternoon, Pilkington was continuing his rehabilitation work following a groin injury.
Boss Lee Clark originally ruled out the 20-year-old former Stockport winger for the remainder of the season after he was injured early in the 1-0 home win over Carlisle on Easter Monday.
But he revealed: “Anthony has responded well to treatment and his rate of recovery is quicker than we thought.
“We won’t take unnecessary risks, but if he continues to progress next week, he’ll come into our thinking for Orient.
“That would give him a nice lift before the players take a break ahead of what will be a tough pre-season.”
Clark, meanwhile, has explained why former skipper Jon Worthington turned down the chance of a place in the squad for today’s game.
“It’s been well documented that Jon’s contract here will not be renewed, and I gave him the opportunity to be in the 16,” said the manager. “He has been a great servant to the club, and it would have been a chance for him to say goodbye to the fans and vice-versa.
“However he politely declined the offer. He feels it is not a retirement game, as is the case with Boothy, and that he would prefer to have been included on merit. I totally respect that decision and I understand where he is coming from.”
On Booth’s final home game, Clark said: “He has made a fantastic contribution to the club, and while the word legend is used too liberally, it’s applicable in this instance. He’s not only a terrific footballer but a tremendous guy as well, and I hope the fans will come out in force.”
Booth, meanwhile, will be at the Galpharm tomorrow as manager of one of the legends sides in Town’s centenary matchday.
Ex-players Darren Bullock, Tom Cowan, Rob Edwards, Iain Dunn, Simon Trevitt, Kevin Gray, Alan Starling, Keith Hanvey, Mark Lillis, Iain Dunn, Chris Billy and Dave Sutton will turn out alongside fans, with Graham Mitchell managing the other team (2.30).