MICHAEL WILDE is ready to make up for lost time as Connah’s Quay Nomads return to action on Friday night.

The defending champions are third in the top-flight table, six points adrift of leaders The New Saints, but with a game in-hand.

Andy Morrison’s men have had to cope without a number of key players through injury with Wilde, Danny Holmes, George Horan, Jamie Insall, Callum Morris and Danny Harrison all missing parts of the campaign.

Wilde has managed just three starts from the opening nine games. The experienced striker was been forced to self-isolate early on in the campaign, before suffering a nasty head wound that required 25 stitches having regained his place in the team.

“Hopefully it’s a clean slate,” said Wilde. “I still have my targets and objectives for the season and I am up and running goal-wise given I’ve got three in four starts.

“The season has been stop-start for me, but you could rewind a bit further for me and go back to the end of last season when I fractured my foot.

“The break has probably helped as I haven’t missed too many matches recovering from my head injury.”

Wilde is no stranger to putting his head in where it hurts, but even he had to admit defeat after clashing with a Cardiff Met defender a month ago.

“I asked if I could put Vaseline on it, but I was told that it was going to need a bit more than that this time,” explained Wilde. “That was when I knew it was bad and I then had 25 stitches.

“It would have looked great for Halloween because I had three eyebrows at one point!”

Wilde lasted just 19 minutes in the capital, before missing the defeat to The New Saints and the goalless draw with Barry Town United.

“It took a while to get back because of the concussion protocols,” said Wilde. “It was about taking things step-by-step and not rushing.

“It felt a bit like hitting a brick wall at the time and things were a little fuzzy and hazy, but I’m back now and I’ve had no side effects.”

Wilde is looking to return for Nomads as they make their way to Caernarfon this evening.

The former Chester and TNS striker scored as Nomads defeated Huw Griffiths’s men 3-1 at the Deeside Stadium on October 6.

“Caernarfon on a Friday night is a game I look forward to,” said Wilde. “They’ve got a nice bit pitch and I’m relishing the chance to get some minutes, whether that’s from the start of a cameo off the substitutes’ bench.

“I’m raring to go, but it depends what the plan is from the manager, hopefully I can add to my tally of three goals for the season.

“The club will be looking to kick-on now as well.”

Cardiff Met entertain Aberystwyth Town in Friday’s other fixture, while Scott Ruscoe’s Saints play host to Gavin Chesterfield’s Barry Town United in-front of the television cameras on Saturday.

Hotshot Chris Venables is “extremely proud” to be captain as Bala Town mount a title challenge.

On leading the Lakesiders into battle, Venables said: “It’s a role I really enjoy and one that I am extremely proud to be doing and it’s an important job. I’d play in the same way with the same application and approach to games whether I was captain or not, but being able to lead out the set of lads we have for such a great club will always be an honour for me.”

Venables leads by example for Bala, who are in second spot, five points adrift of The New Saints ahead of Saturday’s home clash with Penybont.

Since arriving at Maes Tegid, Venables has been a regular on the scoresheet, scoring 11 times in 10 outings this term.

Venables, named the league’s Autumn player of the month, is excited about what the future holds for Bala, saying: “The season so far has gone relatively well, we have performed well in certain matches and could have performed better in others but we are competing well and improving, so the club is in a good place at the moment in my opinion.

“It’s still early days, but the highlight for me is how we are developing as a squad and the sense of togetherness we are developing as well.

“Our new signings have settled in fantastically well, both on the field and in the changing room, we now have a great squad of players and there is real competition for places in every position which is great.

“Playing alongside the likes of Will Evans has been a pleasure so far. We’ve struck up a great relationship on the pitch and his energy, positivity and attitude are spot on, he’s been a great addition to the team and this can also be said for others we have brought in and retained this season also.”