Tony Stokes set to return for Concord Rangers against Canvey Island

Echo: Tony Stokes - could return for Concord Rangers Tony Stokes - could return for Concord Rangers

TONY Stokes looks set to make a dramatic return to the Concord team tonight to face a Canvey side he scored a brace for on the weekend.

The prolific striker has been on loan with the Gulls and was set to play five games for them – concluding with Saturday’s league trip to Kingstonian.

But a last eight county cup draw which handed Canvey a trip to Concord is likely to see that cut short to allow the Beachboys’ captain to lead his side out for tonight’s eagerly-anticipated derby at the Aspect Arena.

Stokes played and scored for Concord in the competition on his return from injury in a 5-0 win over Waltham Abbey in late October so was cup-tied for Canvey anyway, but Concord boss Danny Cowley says there was never any chance he would play against them.

He said: “He’s our player and a very important one too, so he would not have played against us even he had not been cup tied.

“There’s every chance he will be involved for us against Canvey because his fitness his returning and he’s starting to affect games again. But he played 90 minutes for Canvey on the weekend so it will all depend on how his body feels and how his knee is responding.”

Stokes has played four games for Canvey after going there on loan to help build up his match fitness after missing the start of promoted Concord’s new season in the Skrill South because of a knee injury.

He started for the Gulls with 70 minutes in a draw at Margate and then scored a goal from a penalty in an 80 minute showing in a 2-2 at home to Thamesmead. In the past fortnight he’s played the whole game in back-to-back wins against East Thurrock and Cray, scoring twice against the latter on Saturday.

“The move has benefited everyone, which I thought it would,” said Cowley.

“The initial agreement was he would stay there until Saturday but if Tony comes back for us on Tuesday then it’s likely he will then stay with us because that will be the fifth game we wanted him to get. And with the two he’d already played with us, that will be like the pre-season we wanted him to get.

“It’s not definite he will play for us against Canvey and, if he doesn’t, then he will be available for them again on Saturday.”

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