Former Bristol Rovers defender Nick Anderton returns to football - lands role at non-league club

Nick Anderton has joined the coaching staff at AFC Fylde. His last club before retirement was Bristol Rovers. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)Nick Anderton has joined the coaching staff at AFC Fylde. His last club before retirement was Bristol Rovers. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)
Nick Anderton has joined the coaching staff at AFC Fylde. His last club before retirement was Bristol Rovers. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images) | Getty Images
A much-loved Bristol Rovers defender has returned to professional football - joining the coaching staff of a non-league club.

Former Bristol Rovers defender Nick Anderton has made a return to professional football after being appointed as coach of AFC Fylde.

Anderton - a key member of the 2021/22 League Two promotion winning squad - had to retire in April 2023 after a battle with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. He was 26 when he had to bring an end to his eight-year playing career and now he's back to help in football in a different capacity.

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The 27-year-old has joined Chris Beech's coaching staff at National League club AFC Fylde. He alongside Conrad Prendergast have been tasked with helping Beech try to avoid relegation to the National League North.

Speaking to the official club website, manager Chris Beech said: "Nick has been through a tough time over the last few years, and for us to provide him with the chance to stay in the sport he loves is one that we’re proud and privileged to be able to do.

"His experience, together with the depth of his personal qualities and resolve, shown during his time a professional footballer are an inspiration to those around him and I’m certain that he’ll bring a unique professional skillset and ‘player-relatability’ to our backroom staff at the football club.

“With Nick and Conrad already fully embedded within the backroom staff, and welcomed by the players, we are genuinely looking forward to what we believe will be a successful time for them both and for AFC Fylde”.

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Anderton has been studying for his coaching badges and spoke of his desire to return to the game in November. He has now been given the opportunity by Fylde, after previously going in to give a talk to their players.

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