RHYL FC’s young squad have been given a considerable boost with the return of defender Reece Fairhurst.

The gifted centre half has been missing for the entirety of the JD Cymru North campaign with a serious injury but has now returned to the senior set-up and has really hit the ground running during his first few games back in a competitive environment.

This will have hugely positive implications for the Lilies’ ambitions during the remainder of what has been a frustrating campaign for the club, with an off the field situation regarding their ongoing dispute relating to a possible ground purchase.

Fairhurst has long been recognised as one of the most imposing and talented defenders anywhere in the region, but after a title winning campaign with Prestatyn Town in recent years it has been a young career significantly impacted by injury.

Whether these problems are a thing of the past or not remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that the Lilywhites’ position in the second tier standings would be considerably higher had Fairhurst been available for most of the season.

His presence alone at the back is enough to motivate others around him and make opposing forwards think twice about doing what they are normally accustomed in the final third.

Fairhurst is also more than capable of getting the ball down and playing from the back, and his long diagonal balls have proven to be very beneficial as a change of pace from an attacking perspective during his time at the club.

The defender also boasts incredible aerial ability at both ends of the field, something that can only be a good thing going forward, and his return to the fold represents something of a new signing for Eddie Maurice-Jones, Richard Williams-Cooke and the management team.

This becomes especially significant when you consider just how many long term injuries this Rhyl squad has suffered during the season, with the likes of Dave McIntyre, Ross Stephens, Steve Thomas, Ben Burrows, Matthew Cook and James Murphy all spending a large amount of time of the side lines.

The U19 players that were drafted in did incredibly well under the circumstances and they are sure to be part of the club for years to come, but there is no substitute for experience.

Having Fairhurst back to marshall the Lilies’ rear-guard during their remaining nine league games and potentially seal a top four berth if results go their way.

Under the circumstances, that would be an achievement in itself, and with Fairhurst now back in the mix Maurice-Jones knows he has dominant base from which to build.

Hopefully he is rid of his injury concerns and can continue what has been a standout career to date.