Gills rule out King return

Stimson won't rush defender's return

King: Still sidelined

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Gillingham defender Simon King is unlikely to play again this season as he recovers from injury.

The centre-half is gradually working his way back from torn ankle ligaments that he sustained in a pre-season friendly at Bromley last summer

Gillingham manager Mark Stimson is unwilling to take any gambles on King's fitness and will wait until next season for his return

"He is still doing a little work with the physio but it's a slow process and we need to keep his spirits up," Stimson told the club's official website.

"If any of you supporters see him around the place, give him a pat on the shoulder and tell him to keep his chin up because he is a guy who loves to play football and it's really frustrating for him at the moment.

"We haven't sat down with him and said 'you won't play' but, if you look at the bigger picture, it doesn't look like he'll play again this season. I say that, it's not definite, but I'll be amazed if he does.

No rush

"He is nowhere near the fitness levels that you need to play so we would be pushing him and I don't think we want to do that. A couple of weeks ago he was really pushing himself to get that fitness but he has had a bit of a hiccup and had to stop for a few days.

"So now we have to go back to the basics again and build it up really slowly. He's got to look at getting himself fit to start with the boys in pre-season now. It's been a nightmare for him because he's so committed and he's a big player for us."