GISBORNE skipper Casey Summerfield will play his first Bendigo Football League game for more than two months this Saturday when he returns to take on Castlemaine.
Summerfield has been out since injuring his knee against Maryborough in round two on April 12.
“Obviously, any club getting their captain back is significant,” Gisborne coach Rod Sharp said on Wednesday.
“He’s going to be grossly underdone, but we just need to get him through the next couple of weeks so he can really build into his second half of the year.
“Casey leads the way for us and has done everything in his preparation to get back.”
The injury to Summerfield has been further compounded at Gisborne by the back problem that has sidelined veteran Ollie Messaoudi for the past month.
Messaoudi hasn’t played since his 200th game against Eaglehawk at Canterbury Park on May 10.
Sharp said Messaoudi was hopeful of returning to training next week.
“He’s back at work now and the medication he has been taking has been working well, so he’ll have a run at training next week,” Sharp said.
Utility Anthony Belcher (knee) is closing in on his return to the Bulldogs.
Belcher hasn’t played since round four against South Bendigo.
Meanwhile, Gisborne favourite son and dual BFL Michelsen medallist Matt Fitzgerald will make his return to the Bulldogs this Saturday via the reserves.
Fitzgerald has been overseas and last played with Gisborne in 2008.
“He’s in great condition to do everything right - I’ve never seen him as fit - but it’s just the football fitness you need is different to the fitness he has got,” Sharp said.
“It’s great to have him back at the club, but we’re not going to rush him.”
Gisborne sits third on the ladder, but has lost its past three games. The Bulldogs take on Castlemaine at Camp Reserve.