FORMER Crossflatts Village player-manager Kevin Gill is due to make his eagerly-awaited playing comeback for the club in November - and his return is likely to be a huge boost for manager Steve Lewis.

The 35-year-old has been on a short hiatus from the game after resigning as player-manager at the end of the 2018/2019 season due to work commitments.

Affectionately nicknamed ‘The Kelvinator’ due to his no nonsense displays on the pitch, Gill has been working hard on his fitness since last May, after starting a new career in London as a Close Protection Officer.

Gill explained: “I’ve had a bit of time away and I’ve re-evaluated a few things. Since I came to London, I have worked hard on my fitness and read up on the technical side of the game, which I have massively overlooked in the past.

“I have also got myself in better shape.

“From about 2013 to 2019, I used to do too much weight lifting, mainly to boost my own ego, but the extra muscle mass had a detrimental effect on my game.

“Sprinting was a bit of a chore and I couldn't play at my best for the full 90 minutes.

“I am now embracing new things such as a vegan diet, hypnosis and meditation.

“A few years ago I’d have laughed at you if you told me I was going to try such things but now they are part of my everyday life.

“I have also knocked the booze on the head. My partying days are now well and truly behind me. I am not 21 years of age anymore and I have grown up a lot in the last few months.

“I have used my time away and the pandemic restrictions to re-evaluate my outlook on life and my fitness and diet. My life is all about fitness and diet now. Everything else comes second.

“I get up every morning and I do hill sprints in Hyde Park. I can now run 100m in 11.5 seconds which isn’t bad for a 35-year-old who weighs 16 stone.

“At dinnertimes I go for bike rides on the River Thames and in the evenings I either go for a 15km run around London or I work out at my home-made gymnasium.”

Gill’s footballing career started as a box-to-box midfielder for Bingley Juniors way back in 1993.

Gill represented Bradford Boys as a youngster and at the age of 16 he was about to begin a semi-professional career, before deciding to join the Army instead.

He said: “I had a few big local sides sniffing around me in 2001 but I decided to join the Army and it deprived me of a semi-pro career.

“I really enjoyed my 10-year Army career though and it was littered with trophies and individual awards, most notably being awarded the Yorkshire Regiment Player of the Year for five consecutive seasons.

“But in the back of my mind I was thinking, “what if”, with regard to playing semi-professional football back home.

“I left the Army back in 2011 and I joined Crossflatts FC. But I wasn’t really fit physically and mentally after two tours of Iraq so I took a small break from the game to get myself in better condition.

“I signed for Crossflatts Village back in 2013. I signed for the Village because my brother played for them and so did a lot of my mates.

“I wanted to play in the middle of the park but I was a bit of a muscle man back in those days and I couldn’t run as much as I’d need to, so (former player-manager) Lee Bailey ended up pushing me back into defence.

“Despite playing out of position, I must have made an impact as I was appointed club captain and ended up being player-manager.

“My appointment heralded the start of the most successful period in the club’s history, winning a treble and a double in my final two seasons in charge.

“The highlight was our Bradford Sunday Alliance League Premier Division and Keighley FA Sunday Cup double back in 2018/2019, just before I stepped down due to work commitments.

“My long-term aim is to break back into the starting eleven and make one of those central midfield berths my own, and I will be doing everything in my power to make that happen.

“I might be on the wrong side of 35 but I feel in the shape of my life, both mentally and physically. I am confident that I will be back to my box-to-box goalscoring midfield best by Christmas.

“I 100 per cent believe that I am fitter, faster and stronger now than I have ever been, and I can’t wait to get on the pitch and prove it.

“My first game back will be on November 1 against our old rivals Sandy Lane and I will be doing everything in my power to make an immediate impact.”

His new manager Lewis was delighted at the prospect of the return of the former club talisman, as his side look to retain their Bradford Sunday Alliance League Premier Division title.

Lewis said: “Kev’s return in six weeks will be a massive boost to our squad, both on and off the pitch.

“He’s a leader of men and he will give the squad a big injection of fire, as well as increase competition for places.”