PETE MAHON has assured his injured star Gareth Coughlan that the player still has a major role to play with St Patrick's Athletic.
Tragically, Coughlan's season ended early as the 20-year-old, signed from Bray Wanderers at the end of last season, suffered a double leg break in a 12th-minute clash with Bohemians striker Mark Quigley during Friday's 3-1 win over the defending champions.
Coughlan underwent surgery on Saturday and hopes to be released from hospital tomorrow, and Mahon, who visited the player yesterday, told him that he will be a key figure for the Saints again.
"Gareth is young and healthy and I am confident that he will be back with us," Mahon said today.
"I went to see Gareth in hospital yesterday, some of the players and club officials came to see him as well and, for a lad who has been through an ordeal, he was in great spirits.
"I told him straight away to forget about making a comeback this season as there is no way Gareth will be fit this year. I told him to get his rehab right and make sure he's back fully fit for next season.
"But Gareth won't be left aside and forgotten. We'll bring him along to training on Thursday if possible, so he can see his team-mates, and we'll bring him along with us to our next game, in Drogheda on Saturday.
"He had the surgery on Saturday and it went well. They inserted a pin and a plate and the prognosis seems to be good. He'll be in plaster for six to eight weeks and we'll have an idea then of what his recovery will be like," added the Saints boss.