JOHN Butcher is likely to return to football as soon as this weekend according to senior coach Ken Hinkley.
Butcher has been in recovery mode since undergoing hip surgery after the 2012 season.
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The enigmatic forward broke onto the AFL stage at the end of 2011 with several standout performances in his first four matches, before struggling through his follow up season; a case of the dreaded ‘second year blues’.
Hinkley said the Butcher had reached the end of his recovery and conditioning phase and performed strongly throughout the last months of his rehabilitation.
“Butcher’s about ready to play which is really positive for us (and) we’re getting to the point down now where we’re ready to let him,” said Hinkley.
“He’s very important obviously as a key forward (and) if he can come on and impact like he’s shown … already a couple of times, he’d be vital to success as a team.
“We’re really comfortable that he’s over his troubles.”
While Hinkley would not confirm what level Butcher would make his return at during this morning’s press conference, portadelaidefc.com.au
can reveal Butcher will line up for the club’s SANFL side in an internal trial on Friday evening.
That match will be played at Alberton Oval.
Hinkley hopes the opportunity to gentle phase Butcher back into competitive football will put him in the best position to play against Melbourne at the end of the month.
“Hopefully the following week we’ll give him another game and it’s going to put himself around the mark for round one.”
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