Back in March, Arsenal defender Alex Kirk suffered an ankle ligament strain, ruling him out of action.
At the time, reports suggested Kirk would miss the remainder of the season, and he returned to Arsenal for further treatment. The defender even spoke publicly about his disappointment at ending his campaign early.
“I’m gutted to be honest,” Kirk said at the time. “This is never the way I’d want my time up here to end.
“It’s so frustrating because I wanted to be part of the promotion push and give it my all in these final few games.”
Yet it now looks like the defender might get that chance after all.
Ayr United concluded their league campaign with a win on Friday, but they’ve made it into the promotion play-offs.
The Daily Record report that Kirk is returning north to join back up with the squad, after completing his rehab last week.
“As soon as the game finished on Friday night, I was getting my stuff ready to come back up the road,” Kirk said.
“I actually just finished my rehab that day and have been cleared to return to training. I am desperate to be involved.
“Whatever part I can play, I want to do it. I know I might not be coming straight back up into the starting XI, but if I can play any part at all, I want to do it.”
Kirk has made 24 appearances for Ayr United this season, despite a couple of injury absences, and he had a good reputation with journalists and fans who follow the club before his latest lay-off.
For those more familiar with the English Football League play-off system, the play-offs in the Scottish league system work a bit differently.
The teams finishing third and fourth in the Championship face off first in a two-legged quarter-final. The winner of that tie plays a two-legged semi-final against the team that finished second in the league.
The winner of that tie then plays another two-legged tie against the team that finish 11th (second from bottom) in the Scottish Premiership.
As it stands, that would be Kilmarnock, but there are still a few matches left to play.
The winner of that tie gets to play in the Scottish Premiership next season, whilst the loser plays in the Championship.
The Premiership’s bottom club are simply relegated automatically, with the Championship’s top club promoted automatically.
What does that mean for Ayr United and Kirk?
Ayr United finished second, so they’ll play a two-legged tie against the winner of third versus fourth. If they win, they’ll face the 11th-place Premiership team for the chance to achieve promotion.
The play-off semi-final takes place on May 19th and May 26th, with Ayr United playing away first.
The quarter-final takes place on May 9th and May 12th between Partick Thistle and Queen’s Park.