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Dartford winger Ryan Hayes returns from eight-month injury lay-off against Ryman League side Thurrock

Ryan Hayes Picture: Rick Matthews
Ryan Hayes Picture: Rick Matthews

Dartford winger Ryan Hayes returns from his eight-month injury nightmare this weekend and he’s keen to make up for lost time.

Hayes hasn’t played a single minute of competitive football since November 12, a serious knee injury ruling him out for the rest of last season.

The 28-year-old considered quitting Princes Park at one point, so intense was his frustration, but the club’s longest-serving player will pull on a Dartford shirt once again for Saturday’s pre-season friendly at Thurrock.

Hayes said: "I didn’t know what my situation was going to be (at the end of the season), having been out for six months but Tony (Burman) always said to me that I’d be back next year."

But was leaving Dartford ever really on the cards?

"I have to be honest and say yes, I did feel like that," Hayes admitted.

"I’d never thought about it before but in my mind, I thought ‘is it time to move on?’

"I wanted a new challenge, things like that and I thought a couple of the boys might go but I probably would never have gone."

Read the full interview in the Dartford Messenger.

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