Arthurlie skipper Ryan Jordan will lead his team out on Saturday for the relegation battle against Largs Thistle, knowing it will be the last game he will play this season.

Next week Jordan goes under the surgeon's knife for what amounts to a rebuilding of his left ankle.

The 28-year-old central defender said: "I have next to no ligament in my ankle because of long standing damage and I'm now paying the price for continuing to play games through the years while injured.

"The surgeon has said I'll be six weeks in plaster and a further six weeks in a protective boot before getting down to a period of recuperative therapy. It's looking like six months on the sidelines at the very least which I know will drive me loopy.

"I'm not the best of spectators and it will be even worse to be looking on with Arthurlie battling to stay up and I'm absolutely gutted to be missing out.

"I have kept the gaffer, Gavin Duncan, and club officials informed of my predicament and we had agreed to delay the surgery on two previous occasions in the belief that Arthurlie's fate would be defined one way or another by March time.

"But the rash of weather-enforced postponements has worked against us and now I have to go ahead with the procedure at the worst possible time."

A defiant Ryan is vowing to prove wrong those doubters who reckon he might never fully recover and get back playing again.

He said: "The whispers have come to my attention but I'm determined to get make a comeback not least of all to pay back Gavin and the Arthurlie people for their fantastic backing ever since I broke the devastating news to them.

"Initially I had the option of waiting until May but they knew the constant pain I was in and also took into consideration the fact I would then miss out a large chunk of next season so they gave their blessing for me to proceed next week.

"But we had a lot more defensive cover when they made that call and now with only Kevin Green and Jamie Lyden as recognised centrebacks, I just worry we might be caught short-handed for our run-in games.

"I'll be lending my support as soon as able but before then I hope to do my bit to hand over a leaving present of three points from the Largs game."

The timing of the make or break Dunterlie showdown is not lost on Largs Thistle gaffer Sandy McLean.

A twist of irony means it is almost two years to the day that Arthurlie dispensed with his managerial services when sitting ninth in the Super Premier standings following a hugely successful sixteen month hotseat tenure which saw the New Coin Holdings West of Scotland Cup and Evening Times Cup placed in the trophy cabinet while an every bit as creditable non-silverware prize was finishing Super Premier Division runners-up behind champions Auchinleck Talbot.

If his shock sacking left him bitter then the passing of time has healed the wound however Sandy admits to having little sympathy for his former club's imperilled situation.

He said: "My preference would be for both of us to escape the relegation trap-door but I'm afraid that is not going to be the case.

"I had great times at Arthurlie as a player and I'm immensely proud of what was achieved during my time as their manager but Largs Thistle are now my club so it goes without saying that all my energies and focus are on preserving their league status.

"If that's at the expense of Arthurlie then I certainly won't lose sleep over the prospect."

He added: "It's a sign of the times when only Paul 'Tiny' Stewart and Mark Blakey remain at the club from the playing squad put together by myself and it will be good to see them both but even better if it is to buy them a commiserating beer afterwards "

There's a mixed bag for the Ayrshire club's supporters on the team front with striker Euan Lyndsay's automatic suspension for his red-carding in last weekend's 3-0 defeat of Glenafton compensated for by the long awaited return from injury of James 'Slick' Marks who is understandably champing at the bit to play against his former club.

Also sent off at Barrfields last week following a touchline altercation was substitute Barri Stanton, however he may be available for selection on account of Referee Chris Graham mistakenly citing another substitute Barry McLaughlin in his crime count paperwork.

Sandy revealed: "We'll seek clarification on this one before getting down to naming a starting line-up which will have at least one enforced change with Euan ruled out.

"He has been playing very well but so has the entire team for a number of weeks now and we would never be in the relegation dogfight but for an inability to see games out from a winning position which has cost us dearly."