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Elgin City defender Darryl McHardy eyes promotion next term after year to forget in Moray

Darryl McHardy, right, scored seven goals for Elgin City last season.
Darryl McHardy, right, scored seven goals for Elgin City last season.

Defender Darryl McHardy vows to be as fit as possible in a bid to help Elgin City launch a promotion bid from League 2 next season.

The newly-crowned supporters’ player-of-the-year will miss Saturday’s season-closer at Stranraer, with the Moray side set to finish seventh at best should they win and Stirling lose at home to Edinburgh City.

McHardy, 26, suffered a double groin injury against Annan Athletic last month and had hoped to feature before the final fixtures of a stop-start campaign.

Elgin’s Darryl McHardy (left) aims to be back fitter than ever next season.

He was on the bench but not risked in last week’s 4-1 home defeat by basement side Cowdenbeath, and won’t be in the matchday squad for the long trip to Stranraer.

The centre half was on course to, personally, have a record-breaking season before the injury dashed his hopes.

He said: “I was on the bench last week, but the physio ruled me out from playing. I have only just started my rehab, so I will be out this weekend.

“Against Annan, I tore my groin in two places, which has been a nightmare. The season had been going well for me personally. Then I got injured with five or six games to go.

“I played against Kelty as they needed me in the first half, but it ruined it even more.  I had to come off at half-time, so it has been tough.”

Injury denied defender strong finish

McHardy, who has netted seven goals this season, was thrilled to have been the fans’ pick for top City performer.

He is grateful to have netted the prize, but frustrated that injury intervened as he closed in on double figures in terms of goals.

He added: “It is always good to be recognised by the supporters. I was on course to beat my goal tally, but I aim to get myself fully fit for next season and make a real push for promotion.

“I have started my rehab and physio work, so I will hopefully be back running next week and I’ll be upping my strength and conditioning. Next season, I will be aiming for as fit as I can be.”

Lack of consistency held Elgin back

For Elgin to kick off their final game in eighth spot hurts the players and coaching staff.

The curse of Covid hit the squad just weeks after they missed out on promotion via the play-offs after losing an epic double-header against Edinburgh City.

McHardy insists it’s time to regroup over the summer then blast back into top four contention in a bid to reach League 1.

He said: “A lot of the boys had Covid in the first couple of months and I had it for the Scottish Cup replay (against Clydebank) and we were knocked out of that.

“We really have to sort ourselves out because we’ve been in this league for too long. Promotion is 100% our target.

“You can see what we’re capable of on our day, but our consistency levels were awful.

“We beat and drew with (champions) Kelty Hearts and defeated Forfar and Edinburgh City, so we should have been up there and the lack of consistency let us down massively.”

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