STEVE Johnson fears midflelder Martin Barlow’s career could be over.

The former Plymouth Argyle star has been out with a back injury picked up in boss Johnson’s first game in charge on November 13.

Now tests have revealed the 33-year-old has damaged two discs in back and the Terras boss is worried Barlow may have to hang up his boots.

“Martin has been out injured virtually from the first day I came to the club and that’s been a big shame,”
said Johnson.

“I was looking forward to having him available for the last few months of the season.

“But unfortunately the way things are looking, it seems Martin may not be back in the short-term at the very least.

“In fact, it is looking so bad that he may have to pack it in which would be a disaster for him.

“We’ve had tests carried out on Martin and they have revealed two discs are sticking out and affecting his spine.

“That is bad news because by their nature, back injuries can be extremely serious.

“You can’t take any risks with them so there is no question of us risking Martin unless he is 100 per cent right.

“The situation now is that Martin is awaiting an appointment with a consultant to look at the problem further.

“Once that happens, we’ll know where we are but at the moment I’m fearing the worst.”

Johnson added that he plans to sit down with Barlow, whose current contract at the Wessex Stadium ends
in May, to discuss the future.

He said: “All footballers want to play for as long as they can and having a career ending injury can be really hard to take.

“What makes things even worse for Martin is that his contract with us runs out at the end of the season so his future is up in air.

“That is obviously going to be something we’ll have to look at but, football matters aside, Martin’s health should come first because that is what is most important.

“As a club we will do all we can help to assist him in providing the help and treatment he needs.”

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