AIRBUS have been given a major boost ahead of Saturday's trip to Haverfordwest - and the festive double against Connah's Quay - with the news that club captain Ian Kearney is fit to return after a miserable 14 months on the sidelines.

Kearney, described as the best defender in the Welsh Premier League by boss Andy Preece, was stretchered-off after an innocuous tackle against Rhyl on October 14 last year, which resulted in cruciate knee ligament damage and a broken tibia.

"Having Kearns back is massive for us. He's our captain, our leader and one of our key organisers on the pitch," said Preece.

"We've coped well without him and got into Europe, and the lads who have played at the back have done really well, but getting him back will give everyone a major lift.

"He leads by example, especially when things get tough. He gets people going and he pulls us together because he's massively respected by the other players.

"We've missed him in training, too, because he sets high standards for himself and everyone else. Things have got to be done right and if they're not he'll have his say!

"You take someone like him out of our squad and it leave a huge hole. All credit to him because he's work so hard to get fit, and we're delighted to have him back."

Kearney has come through practice and Under-19 games with no ill effects, but the Wingmakers will travel to south Wales without Lee Owens and Mike Pearson, who are still injured.

Airbus won 2-0 at the Conygar Bridge Meadow in the Welsh Cup two weeks ago and are now seeking to consolidate a top-six place.

"We've only got four games left until the split, so each one is vital," Preece added.

"The good thing for us is that we haven't got to win them all, so if we can get five or six points it'll probably be enough to make sure we're in the top six.

"Hopefully then we will have a bit of time to get everyone fit for the first time this season and we can regroup and be at full strength for the final 10 games.

"Going to Haverfordwest in the cup was tough and the conditions were terrible.

"They've had a load more rain this week so I don't think we can expect it to be any different on Saturday, so it'll be very testing again."

Airbus UK FC

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