ROCKS fans’ favourite Luke Nightingale has committed himself to Nyewood Lane for another season – after contemplating retirement.
The veteran striker, a key component in the side that went so close to the Ryman one south title last season, has had numerous injury problems over the years and had considered quitting.
But after encouragement from the Rocks management, Nightingale has confirmed he is playing on – to the delight of everyone at the club.
The ex-Pompey and Havant & Waterlooville forward scored 26 goals last season in 37 starts and 11 appearance from the bench. He also set up many of the other 100-plus goals the Rocks scored.
Joint manager Jamie Howell said: “Luke’s going to play us again next season. There had been rumours about him retiring but it’s not going to happen.
“It’s a big boost because knowing he will be around next season can also help convince other players they want to be involved. He’s that sort of player.
“Although he has had his injury problems, Luke was sensational for us last season and, in fact, didn’t miss many games at all.
“At times we had to play him when it might have been better to rest him, but he didn’t let us down once.”
It’s hoped that Nightingale’s commitment to the cause will help convince top scorer Jason Prior to remain a Rock if any club come in and offer him a move before the new season.
The Rocks already face losing winger Ben Johnson to Dagenham & Redbridge, where he will go for pre-season, and don’t want to lose any other key men from the 2010-11 squad.
Howell said it remained quiet on the ins-and-outs front a fortnight ahead of the start of pre-season training on Friday, July 1. The pre-season friendlies kick in on July 19.
The Rocks do have a couple of top targets as they look to strengthen the squad.