SHOULD Liam Gibson make his Accrington Stanley debut this afternoon it will cap a remarkable rise for the Reds new boy.

The left back has joined Stanley on loan move from Newcastle until the end of the season and is in line to start against Bristol Rovers in League One.

The 21-year-old has been at boyhood club Newcastle for 11 years but his first appearance for John Coleman’s side will be his first in senior football.

Indeed 18 months ago Gibson wondered whether he would even be able to carry on in the game.

His promising rise through the ranks at St James’ Park was halted by ulcerative colitis and a diagnosis that ultimately led to him having his bowel removed.

He missed more than a year of football, his weight dropped to just nine stone, he suffered from depression and also overcame a blood clot in his calf.

Playing in the Football League seemed a long way off.

But Gibson, who describes himself as a tough tackling left back, displayed some of that tenacity to battle the illness and is now fully fit again and raring to go with Stanley.

“Now that I am back I am just loving every second. I can’t wait to get started with Accrington,” he said.

“My ulcerative colitis started in about 2016, I played for about a year with the disease but at the end of that season it got too much and I ended up having my bowel removed so I missed all of last season and didn’t play any football at all.

“When it first happened I was sitting in the hospital bed and I was that depressed and down that I didn’t even want to play football again. I thought I was going to have to start looking for a normal job.

“All the fitness staff at Newcastle have got me back to where I should be and I am really pleased.

“I would sometimes come into football thinking I couldn’t be bothered but now I have got an extra incentive to do well.”

And Gibson, whose brother is in the Academy at Everton, has both the chance to become a regular with his new club. Nick Anderton spent the first half of the season as Stanley’s left back but his recall by parent club Blackpool has created an opening that Gibson is determined to fill.

“That is my opportunity,” he said. “Other clubs were interested but I might have been on the bench and I couldn’t miss an opportunity to come to a club like Accrington. I want to be a player that is playing every week.”

Gibson, who spent time on loan at National League side Barrow earlier in the season, featured for Newcastle Under-23s in their Checkatrade Trophy derby with Sunderland in the week.

And although the young Magpies were beaten 4-0, Gibson impressed and felt the game was a useful stepping stone ahead of the move into League One.

“It wasn’t the best result but I think I played well,” he added.

“I think there was 16,000 there and that is the most I have played in front of and it was quite hostile. I got a few choice words from the crowd!

“I was looking at the game (against Sunderland) knowing I was going to go on loan to League One and you are going to get those kind of gates week in week out.”

And for Gibson, football week in week out will do just fine.