Why former Portsmouth ace will be missing for AFC Portchester at least for the next few weeks after making shock playing return
AFC Portchester manager Dave Carter is hoping to see plenty more of former Pompey man Ashley Harris this season - but only after his upcoming wedding and honeymoon.
The ex-Blues ace made a surprise return after years out of the game, featuring as a substitute in the Royals 1-1 Wessex League Premier Division draw with AFC Stoneham last weekend.
But Carter says that appearance will prove a fleeting one - at least for the time-being.
Harris, 27, who netted three times in 35 Pompey outings after coming through the ranks at PO4, was released by his hometown club in the summer of 2014.
It would be just a couple of years later before the former Purbrook Park School pupil dropped out of the game completely, following two serious knee injuries and after spells with Gosport Borough, Horndean and Moneyfields.
But Harris, who works for Carter's scaffold company and is marrying the AFC Portchester manager's niece next month, has now opted for a playing return.
And Carter is hopeful Harris can become a regular fixture in his squad this season, although the Royals boss will have to wait a little while to call on him again as other commitments take priority.
The Royals boss said: ‘He signed to help us out, he’s getting married to my niece in two weeks’ time, so he won’t be doing too much.
‘Hopefully we can sit down with him once he’s back from his wedding and honeymoon and have a chat about him coming in permanently.
‘I think he goes on holiday in a couple of weeks so I wouldn’t imagine he wants to take any gambles coming back from six years out with a knee injury.
‘We’re looking at him. He was good when he came on last Saturday, he set the goal up (against Stoneham), it was a great ball in for Kieran with the header.’
Carter, who had Harris playing for him during his time as Horndean and Moneyfields boss, revealed he has been regularly attempting to 'prize' the former Pompey ace back into playing.
Yet after failing with his attempts, it was Harris who this time approached Carter about a return to the game.
Carter said: ‘He works with me and he’s getting married to my niece, to be honest, I’ve been trying to prize him back to football for years, but he’s always said no.
‘I’ve left him alone and then he said, ‘I’ll come training tonight,’ he’s been out running and getting himself fit - it was a bit of a surprise, really.
‘We know he’s got talent, you don’t play for Pompey in League One if you’re not a good player, it’s just getting his fitness levels back and see how we go from there with him.’