After a difficult couple of weeks, we are delighted to say that Louie Annesley is on the road to recovery!

The 22-year-old has missed the last five games after being hospitalised with an infection but he returned to Oriel Park at the end of last week and Lilywhites head coach Stephen O’Donnell said it was great to see him back in familiar surroundings.

“We probably downplayed it a bit because we wanted to give Louie a little bit of space and privacy but he has had a really tough time of it,” said O’Donnell.

“The day after the 5-0 win over St Patrick’s Athletic, he felt ill and was taken to hospital. The infection attacked his groin area and he was really sore with it and spent over three weeks in the hospital.

“That’s very tough for anyone, never mind someone who had just arrived from a different country and was only getting settled, so it’s just great to see him out of the hospital, living a somewhat normal life and being back in amongst lads to start his recovery.”

The Gibraltar international has been doing some light work with the club’s physios over the past week but O’Donnell said it was difficult to put a timeframe on his return to action.

“He has already made a massive improvement but it’ll take a bit of time for him to get his immune system back to where it was and for him to get fully fit.

“During my time as a player, and now as a coach, I never came across anything like this so there’s no precise timeline. We’ll just keep building him up, step by step.

“When we clear one hurdle, we’ll get onto the next and when Louie has cleared all the hurdles, he’ll be back in but we’re not going to rush him or cut corners.

“He’s going to have to do it properly and we’ll make sure we’re staying within the parameters of being safe and healthy while we’re doing it.”