FORMER York City midfielder Stuart Elliott has been ruled out of a return to KitKat Crescent today.

Elliott, who joined this afternoon’s visitors Grays after being released by the Minstermen at the end of last season, has picked up a hernia injury which will require an operation on Tuesday.

The combative midfielder, booked in six of his first eight games for Grays, had hoped to make Grays’ starting line-up, having been on the bench since his last league start on November 1.

But, now, the former Newcastle United reserve is set to be sidelined for up to six weeks, although he stressed there could be a slim chance of him playing some part in proceedings before going under the knife.

Elliott said: “I might be able to play a little part but it’s very doubtful, which is disappointing because you always want to play against your ex-clubs.

“There’s been a bit of banter flying about, but now I’ll just have to take the stick because it looks like I won’t be playing.”

The 31-year-old Londoner, who was sent off on his first and last appearances during a season-long stay with the Minstermen, added that he would be unsure what kind of response his return would provoke from home supporters but still wishes the club well.

He said: “I’ve had both scenarios as a player – I’ve gone back to some places and been booed and then received a great reception at other clubs, but that’s football.

“I still speak to one or two of the lads, especially Richard Brodie.

He was upset going to Barrow and thought his time at the club might have come to an end but he’s gone away, scored goals and come back and got the equaliser against Salisbury.

“In Richard and Onome Sodje the club have two good, young players.

People forget how young they are and they both have promising futures in the game if they work hard.

“York had a great start and were right up there in the top half which was pleasing to see but there’s been a manager change now, which will bring new ideas and new players and I wish the club all the best – just not today.”

Former City chief Colin Walker released Elliott only to find himself being asked to leave the club himself seven months later following a year in the job.

But the Grays player took no satisfaction from hearing of his departure, saying: “Col’s gone and unfortunately, these days, that’s football.

“As a manager, you used to get a couple of years but they come and go in a matter of months now and, as a player, you never like to see somebody get sacked.”

Even with Elliott set to play no part on the pitch this afternoon, Grays manager Wayne Burnett has still been turning to his midfielder for first-hand information on the Minstermen.

Despite Grays sitting second-bottom in the table, suffering money problems and being told to leave their ground at the end of the season, Elliott also believes the Essex team can lift themselves to safety.

He said: “We can stay up without a shadow of doubt but we have got to start that process now.

“Our start to the season wasn’t what we wanted but we played some very good football and were just not scoring goals as a team.

“Individual mistakes were also costing us.

“Now we’ve got a new manager with new ideas and a few new players and we seem to be knitting together so I’m confident we can get out of trouble.”