Joao Balde: Civil Service Strollers have ‘fantastic’ on-loan Hibs forward back in action after injury

Civil Service Strollers manager Gary Jardine is looking forward to seeing exciting talent Joao Balde play out the remainder of the 2021/22 season at Christie Gilles Park.

By Neil McGlade
Friday, 11th February 2022, 1:13 pm
Updated Friday, 11th February 2022, 1:13 pm
Joao Balde in action for Civil Service Strollers against East Stilring earlier in the season. After joining Hibs, returning on loan and recovering from injury he is back in action
Joao Balde in action for Civil Service Strollers against East Stilring earlier in the season. After joining Hibs, returning on loan and recovering from injury he is back in action

The 20-year-old Portuguese, who has been on Strollers' books since the start of season, put pen to paper on an 18-month deal with Hibs last month.

The former Rangers youth player will join the Easter Road club's development squad in the summer but has been loaned out to Strollers to continue his development in the Lowland League.

And, following a spell on the sidelines with a niggling injury, Balde will return to league action tomorrow when East Kilbride visit the Capital.

"Joao is an example to anybody who has been released earlier on in their career that you can find a route back in," Jardine said. "He absolutely deserves his opportunity. He's been fantastic for us all season so we're delighted to have him back for the rest of the season. Joao throws himself into everything and gives maximum effort."

Sixth-placed Strollers could move to within two points of their opponents with a win over Kilby this weekend.

Jardine added: "Games are running out so we need to pick up the three points if we want to look any higher. We've been up near the top end of the table for so long so we've had a good season. We don't want the league to peter out so we need to try and finish with a bang.

"There are now teams chasing us too so we don't want to be looking over our shoulders. But equally, we know we really have to get a win to keep up with the teams immediately above us, none other than East Kilbride.

"We've always felt that being in the top six is like being in the top four if Rangers and Celtic weren't in the league.

"We've been playing really well defensively and that is something we've been working on. But because we've been concentrating on one end of the pitch, it's kind of had an adverse effect at the other end.

"It will be a tough game but we need to find goals from somewhere."