Shoreham defender Gathern ruled out for season

Shoreham defender Alex Gathern has been ruled out for the season. Picture by David Jeffery
Shoreham defender Alex Gathern has been ruled out for the season. Picture by David Jeffery

Shoreham Football Club’s Bostik League South survival hopes have been dealt a blow with news that defender Alex Gathern will not feature again this season.

Full-back or central defender Gathern was advised not to play again this campaign at the end of last week.

Gathern spent a night in East Surrey Hospital back in January following a nasty head injury he picked up during Mussels’ defeat at South Park.

The versatile defender then had a month or so on the sidelines before returning to action last month.

Gathern has been struggling over the past few weeks and has now been advised to spend three months or so away from football.

Shoreham, who are currently 13 points adrift at the bottom of the Bostik League South, have been rocked by the news but manager Sammy Donnelly insists Gathern’s health is his main concern.

“We’ve been dealt a bit of a blow with the news Alex (Gathern) won’t play for us again this season,” Donnelly said.

“He will be a massive loss to the team but his health is way more important than football. Alex has been struggling since coming back after such an nasty injury and now he’s been advised to stop playing for the next three months or so. Maybe he returned a bit too soon for us. It’s about him making a full recovery and coming back when he is fully ready now.”

Snow and freezing temperatures across the country wiped out a number of fixtures last weekend, with Mussels’ match at Faversham Town on Saturday postponed.

Shoreham, who return to action at leaders Lewes tonight, had an 11-day break between their previous fixture – a 1-0 home defeat at home to VCD Athletic – and the trip to high-flying Rooks.

Donnelly has bolstered his playing ranks: 19-year-old defender or midfielder Josh Tuck has gone to Middle Road. Josh – the son of former Brighton & Hove Albion defender Stuart – joins from Lewes.

“Josh has joined us to give us a bit of a boost with the news Alex (Gathern) is out for the remainder of the season.

“Josh’s father, Stuart, was someone who played for me at Worthing and I’m looking forward to working with him.

“Youth is the way I want to go at Shoreham. I feel it is the right way, and Josh is another player who fits into that.”

Donnelly insists morale is still high at Middle Road and hope remains within the squad they can get out of trouble this season.

He added: “We’re not setting a specific win target between now and the end of the season – our main focus will be trying to win the next game. Whatever happens we want to make sure we end the season on a good run of form.”