ANDY Graham isn't joking when he says he had prepared for his time at Alloa to come to an end. 

At 36 and still in the midst of an agonising recovering process from discitis, a rare inflammation on the spine which is believed to affect only 1 in every 100,000 people, he had all but accepted football's cut throat ways would soon be at his door. 

There's also the small matter of a worldwide pandemic and a substantial reduction in income for the Wasps to cope with due to the game's lockdown, meaning Graham was sure they'd have to cut their cloth accordingly. 

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He was as surprised as anyone, then, when Peter Grant and Mike Mulraney showed little hesitation in offering him a new deal in Clacks to extend his stay for a fifth season. 

But, the skipper has played with Alloa long enough now to know he really shouldn't be shocked when the club goes above and beyond to support those who mean so much to it.

"It was really good of the club to have offered me the new deal," Graham told Advertiser Sport. "I was a bit worried and you are at this stage of your career and with what was happening to me a couple of months ago.

"Normally I have been alright because I have been playing every week but this is the first time I have really had an extended spell out.

"For the club to treat me the way they did was something I will be forever indebted to them for. They didn't have to do that and you see a lot of other clubs releasing players left, right, and centre. 

"It could have been quite easy for Alloa to do that and the fact they didn't do that and they have given me an opportunity to look after myself as I get fit. 

"It was great of the club to stand by me and to not just stick by what the easy decision would have been. That is typical of the football industry, but I am indebted to them." 

Graham had an MRI on Friday and is continuing to step up his recovery process. He started cycling recently and hopes to be able to run in the near future.

"The problem is no one really knows how long the recovery process will be," he said. "If I had had the operation, it would have been simple with your 12 week rehab.

"But with the infection there's a lot more worry about and you need to get rid of this first and see what the state of play is before you can move on.

"I am miles better than I was when everyone saw me at Alloa and I was hobbling about and struggling with everything.

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"I managed to cycle the last couple of weeks which has been great for me mentally to tire myself out and get a proper workout.

"I had been walking in the weeks before that but you know yourself it is mind numbing and you are not pushing yourself." 

Graham added: "I just need to get running again but hopefully that is not too far away."