Veteran Ripon City midfielder Paul Vincent has given his strongest hint yet that he will retire from playing at the end of the season.
Vincent has been an integral part of City’s West Yorkshire Premier League campaign this season, starting 12 times for the Mallorie Park outfit.
He has also made five appearances for City’s struggling reserves in Alliance Division One.
The former Harrogate Town man took a break from playing last season when he managed City to fifth place and a historic League Cup triumph last campaign.
But he missed pulling on the red and black shirt, and returned from retirement to play under boss Charlie Brown.
When asked whether he would still be playing next season, Vincent said: “I will keep playing as long as I can, but probably not.
“I am enjoying my football but I don’t know. I don’t want to outstay my welcome.”
Vincent played in City’s brave 2-1 defeat at runaway leaders Bardsey on Saturday as Brown’s men were unlucky to drive home empty handed (report page 93).
Daz Simpson put City ahead with a magnificent free-kick but the reigning West Yorkshire champions overturned the deficit before half-time.
City were without key players Ben Jones, Ashley Atkinson, Paul Abbott, Adam Robinson (all injured) and Tom Leeming (away) as Brown was forced to sign himself on to make up the numbers on the bench.
Left-winger Matt McGlinchey also missed Saturday’s clash, after previously playing every minute of the season for the club.
Having been thrashed by relegation fodder Kippax 4-0 the week previous, Brown hailed the response from his threadbare outfit.
“We got the reaction,” he said.
“For 90 minutes we pushed the league champions, because they are going to win it, all the way. Until the whistle went, the result was in doubt.
“I said to the lads ‘last week has to go, we have to come here with a clean sheet and work hard. If we don’t work hard today, it’s going to be a cricket score.’
“We went to compete and get something out of it.
“You know when you are playing the side at the top of the league, the margins are very small. And they proved that.”
Brown hopes Leeming and Robinson will return for this Saturday’s visit of Brighouse Old Boys (2.30pm).
He added: “If we go and do that, we will go and beat them.
“It’s like spinning a coin - will that team turn up? If we get that level of performance we will go and win the game.”