Darin Killpartrick is ready for a return to football with Chichester City after a break from the game to deal with personal tragedy.
Dabba, as most in football know him, has been away from the game for most of the past year. His mum Elizabeth became ill last year and died, aged 73, last November.
As we reported at the time, her death devastated the whole family and sparked tributes from the West Sussex football community, in which she and her husband Len have long been highly regarded.
Now Dabba is looking forward to a return when City’s squad and backroom staff reconvene in June for fitness testing and then pre-season.
It promises to be an exciting season at Oaklands Park as City try to complete an Isthmian League campaign at the third time of asking.
Killpartrick said he’d needed the time away to deal with the loss of his beloved mum and he planned to return a step at a time.
He will again be part of a management and coaching team of four – also including manager Miles Rutherford, assistant Graeme Gee and coach Danny Potter – that has led City to league and FA Cup success in recent years.
Killpartrick said: “I’m looking forward to being back. I’ve not done anything with the club for quite a long time.
“I wanted to spend every second I could with my mum when she was unwell. It’s been a heartbreaking time for all of us, but one thing I do know is that she, above anyone, would have wanted me to get back to football.
“It will be a return to something that’s normal, an outlet for me.
“My passion is coaching, developing young players, and I can’t wait to get back to doing that.
“The club are busy preparing a good pitch that will be conducive to the entertaining football we want to play and we hope more local people than ever before will come and support the team.
“We’re excited to see where the club will go on the next stage of the journey.”
Killpartrick, who coaches at Chichester’s college and university, said he was confident the majority of the squad who did well in the two unfinished seasons in the Isthmian south east would be back for the new season, and one or two new faces would be added too.
Under-23 and under-18 sides will further add to the competition for places at the club.