NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Plaudits for St Ives Town comeback star Josh Dawkin
- Credit: Archant
St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke has hailed comeback star Josh Dawkin for overcoming an injury hell.
The wideman pulled on a Saints shirt last Saturday for the first time since suffering a double leg break in April, 2017.
Dawkin scored one of the goals as Saints triumphed 2-0 at lower-level Huntingdon Town in their first Hunts Premier Cup group fixture.
And Marheineke admitted it was an emotional experience to see Dawkin back in his squad as they began their preparations for the new Southern League Premier Division Central campaign.
"It's two years and three months since Josh broke his leg and that shows how long the road to recovery has been for him," said Marheineke.
"Josh was sensational for us in the 2016/17 season when he scored 17 goals and had a hand in many more.
"We always questioned whether he would be able to get back to those levels after such a bad injury - and we certainly haven't ever put any pressure on him.
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"Very few people would have the character and determination that Josh has shown to get himself back into a position to play football again at such a good standard.
"I'm immensely proud of him as his manager to have fought so hard because he wants to play for St Ives Town again so badly.
"I don't mind admitting I felt quite emotional seeing him out there in a Saints shirt again because I know how much physical pain and mental torture he has gone through since his injury.
"He was outstanding too and If he can continue to move forward through the rest of the summer, we will have one of the best players in our league again."
Dawkin was a product of the Norwich City youth system and made three senior appearances for the Norfolk club before dropping into non-league. He had spells at a number of clubs - including Cambridge City and St Neots Town - before joining Saints in the summer of 2016.
Dawkin spent the final part of last season with Soham Town Rangers as he took his first steps back into the game.
St Ives now face Godmanchester Rovers tonight (Thursday, 7.45pm) in their next Hunts Premier Cup fixture. That game is also at Jubilee Park - the home of Huntingdon Town.