Whitehead "big part" of Weston's future insists Bartlett

Weston's Ben Whitehead in action against Hendon

Ben Whitehead in action for Weston during The Seagulls 2-2 draw with Hendon, where he scored in the last minute to salvage a point before netting his second a week later at Hayes & Yeading. - Credit: Mark Atherton

Weston manager Scott Bartlett has hailed Ben Whitehead as a “big part” of their future after the forward was seen running on the pitch before the recent 2-1 friendly win against Willand Rovers.

Whitehead has scored two goals for Weston - including a stoppage-time leveller against Hendon on his debut and the winner at Hayes & Yeading United - is currently recovering from a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained in Weston’s 2-0 win at Truro City in August 2019.

And Bartlett has been left pleased with how his recovery is going and admits it is only a matter of time before he will back playing.

“Ben’s not only a good lad and part of our family, if you like, he’s a fantastic footballer, great goalscorer at this level, he will be like a new signing,” said Bartlett.

“We have obviously been really patient. We haven’t gone out and replaced him like for like because we see him as a big part of our future.

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“He’s working hard and coming back from that injury is a very, very slow progress.

“There is a lot of football that goes on in between. He’s done well, he’s kept his spirits up.

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“He’s working hard and hopefully now we are at the right end of that journey and he will be putting on that shirt and scoring us for goals before we know it.”

When asked if there was a time frame on Whitehead returning, Bartlett added: “No, it’s like any player now that has had an injury and they are coming back.

“We will see how he reacts next time he goes out straight-line running and then if he comes through that we will get him to do the next phase of that and he will back in training.

“Then it’s just him having that bit of confidence really and getting that sharpness into his game.

“We are going to think carefully how we can get him match fit as quickly as we can.”

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