GARETH Seddon admits he could have only dreamed that he would one day get a second chance at his career as a professional footballer.

But this summer may prompt a bidding war between Conference and League Two clubs for the former Bury hotshot's signature after he was cleared of a medical condition that threatened to completely rob him of the only livelihood he had ever wanted.

After taking a three-year break from the rigours of full-time training, the aimiable 27-year-old has made a full recovery from spondyloarthropathy - a strain of arthritis which affects the immune system and causes inflammation in joints.

Now, on the back of a string of impressive performances for Nationwide Conference side Hyde United led to an England National Game XI cap in their Four Nations Tournament win last week, he is eager to pick up where he left off and make an incredible Football League return.

"This season's been good because it's the first one I've played properly for a couple of years," said Burnley-born Seddon, whose two goals in two games for England's non-league side took his tally for the season to 40 - a personal best.

"I was going to go back to the Conference full-time at the start of the season, but then I thought I would be better off going to Hyde, staying part-time and easing my way back into it and see how I am.

"Morecambe had made enquiries about me, but then they had a change of manager and that got put on hold. But I couldn't wait around any longer.

"I wanted to get my fitness up and start playing regularly again, so I signed for Hyde."

Morecambe may renew their interest in Seddon this summer, while a number of other league and Conference clubs, who had already been alerted to the the former Gawthorpe High School pupil, scouted him while he was on duty with Paul Fairclough's England side last week.

"It would have to be a good deal for me to go into the Conference, but to go back into the Football League is a totally different appeal," he said.

"Hyde would understand that, but I think it would have to be a good deal for them too."

The very fact he is even contemplating returning to full-time football, though, is something that Seddon still feels the need to pinch himself about.

He was affectionately dubbed the Hapton Hitman for his prolific strike-rate at Gigg Lane.

But, less than two years ago, the Hitman' hit rock bottom after being told his career had been cruelly cut short through a rare blood condition.

Then, aged just 24, he had left countless doctors baffled when he couldn't shake a knee problem he sustained while out running in the summer of 2004.

Spondyloarthropathy was diagnosed in January 2005 following numerous tests and investigations.

Gambling and drinking numbed the pain of no longer being able to sustain the formidable goalscoring reputation he had garnered at Bury and that he hoped would flourish at new club Rushden and Diamonds.

He had recovered from a back injury that had kept him sidelined for an entire season with the Shakers to finish top scorer the following term. There was nothing to say he wouldn't get over the knee problem and repeat the same process. But the slightest knock in training or in a match could trigger another set-back, and doctors advised him that the only chance he stood of ever ridding himself of the condition that plagued him was to quit as a professional.

He did so reluctantly, but Seddon kept his love affair with football alive at hometown club Padiham and spent a season with the North West Counties League Division Two side before signing for Hyde.

It was a step in the right direction. But the best was yet to come.

"I went for blood tests last March and they said the condition had completely gone from my system," he beamed.

"They said it would after giving my body a rest.

"It's freakish how it came up in the first place. It was just a matter of giving my body a rest from tackles and things like that."

Even before the all-clear Seddon had refused to be held back. His potency in front of goal had made him a hit with the Tigers' faithful, but with an extra spring in his step thanks to his good news he had attracted attention from further afield.

And he had no hesitation in cancelling a holiday to Marbella when the England call-up came.

"There was no question about that," he said.

"I only knew one of the lads - Andy Burgess from Rushden and Diamonds. The rest knew each other from playing in the Conference so I was going there as the only outsider.

"The manager told the lads that even though I was from a league below, by the end of the week they would see why I was there.

"And out of all the squad, they voted me player of the tournament, which was great."

But it wasn't just his ability on the pitch that inspired his new team-mates. His positive, never-say-die outlook on life also drew admiration.

"I have a tattoo that says always believe in yourself' in Latin," he said.

"Since the day I was told about my condition I've always thought that there are people a lot worse off than me. No matter what. I thought that even if I have to give up football I could still do well in other stuff.

"But I was just determined to fight it. I've never given up."