MARCH Town skipper Luke Pepper has decided to continue playing while he waits to go into hospital for keyhole surgery on his knee.
Pepper had hoped to have the surgery by the end of this month but is still waiting for a date for the operation to remedy the strained medial ligaments.
Pepper, who played the last few minutes of the derby against Wisbech, said: “I have spoken to the specialist and he said it would be all right to play while I wait to go into hospital. I just need to get myself as fit as possible though.”
Pepper missed the last four months of last season and was resigned at not being able to play until September if the operation had taken place this month.
Pepper also played 70 minutes on Saturday when he scored the equaliser from the penalty spot in the 1-1 draw at Huntingdon.
Huntingdon had taken the lead midway through the first half with a shot from 25 yards but early in the second half Stu Anderson had his shirt pulled in the box and although he managed to get the ball into the net, the referee had awarded a penalty.
Whaley said: “We did not play as well as we did against Wisbech but the pitch was not too good. But it was a good test for us as they are a similar team to Godmanchester who we play twice in the opening weeks of the season.
“It is a bonus to have Luke playing because we did not think we would see him in action until September at the earliest.
“He does need time on the pitch after his long absence to get his passing and touch right. But at the same time we have to see if there is any reaction after he has played so we will see how he is before deciding if he plays again against Deeping on Thursday night.
“The specialist is happy for him to play as he is unlikely to do any further damage as the cartilage is only likely to harden up. But if he does get more pain then we will stop and wait.”
Striker Ash Brand is also likely to continue playing although he has a hernia injury.
Whaley added: “Ash is waiting to hear whether he needs an operation but can continue playing, but once again we will have monitor things. But you do want both players in your side if you are going to make a good start to the season.”
Goalkeeper Lea Jordan has already proved what an asset he is with an outstanding display against his old club Wisbech last week and Whaley revealed that two clubs have already approached the goalkeeper.
“We are very lucky to have Lea because he is perhaps the best goalkeeper in the area. He cannot play midweek games all the time because of his job so hopefully we can hang on to him.”
But should the Peterborough-based keeper change his jobs do not be surprised to see Wisbech making a strong bid to take back a player who was outstanding for them last season and voted player of the season.