MICHAEL Wardle hopes to retain his place in the Tividale starting eleven at Market Drayton Town tomorrow afternoon.

Wardle, 24, started his first game on Tuesday evening in the defeat against Norton as he contnues to battle a long-term ankle problem and will undergo surgery on December 20th.

He said “It’s great to be back and trying to help the squad.

“My return is only temporary as my operation is just prior to Christmas Day so I’ve a few games to be involved in between now and then.

“I’d like to thank the fans for their support, they’ve been brilliant with me.

“As for the team, we had a very good start but results in general have not been good enough in recent times and the performance on Tuesday night was particularly poor.”

Wardle, who joined the club in the summer of 2013 was a member of the title winning squad in the Midland Alliance last campaign and believes the festive period is going to be particularly important for ‘Dale.

“Christmas is a special time of the year, but it’s also a very serious time of the calendar from a football perspective.

“The weather really hit us hard last season and we need to hope that we play as many games as possible because it will be more difficult at this level playing up to three and four times a week.

“Hopefully the majority can all stay fit because we’ll all have a part to play over the course of the next month.

“If I can play some games and keep my place then I’ll be happy.”

Wardle also stressed that Tividale cannot underestimate struggling Market Drayton tomorrow at the Greenfields Sports Ground.

“Every game at this level is tough.

“Although they’re in the bottom three, that doesn’t mean to say we’re going to turn up and win.

“If we concentrate and play our football we can win the game.”