Nick Anderton: Ex-Bristol Rovers defender wants to return to football after cancer all-clear

Former Bristol Rovers defender Nick Anderton hopes to return to football in some capacity, after being given the all-clear from cancer.

Anderton announced in September he was free of bone cancer, having been diagnosed in July 2022.

The 27-year-old travelled with Rovers to their game against Reading on Wednesday, which ended in a 1-1 draw.

"It was a bit emotional coming back to a game," Anderton told BBC Radio Bristol.

"I travelled with the lads, was on the bench for the game and I felt like I need to go over to the Gasheads and clap them.

"I'm looking forward to coming to a home game with my family but it was good to see such a good following and it was nice for me after the journey, they've been amazing."

Anderton was diagnosed with osteosarcoma - a form of bone cancer - and underwent chemotherapy, had surgery to remove a tumour and later had a full knee replacement and 12cm of his femur replaced.

He retired from playing in April this year but said the "adrenaline" of being back at a matchday had made him realise he wants to return to the sport.

"After being back at the training ground and to be on the bench involved in the matchday atmosphere and stuff it was strange but it's something that I think is really good for me, especially mentally," he said.

"For a long time I was a bit umming and ahhing about whether to come back. Definitely coming around the place has made my mind up that I should be involved in football moving forward.

"I don't know what that might be, but I've missed it."

Anderton will have more scans in January to check his recovery is continuing as it should and said he still has a lot of work to doing on his leg to get back to the level he was at before the diagnosis.

"I've still got some rehab to do with my leg to allow me to be able to exercise as what you'd say is normal," he added.

"It's definitely been a whirlwind but I'm enjoying it and I'm enjoying being alive, which is crazy to be saying at 27 but the situation that I found myself in a lot has happened.

"But I'm just looking forward to moving forward and getting into that new year and really sussing out what I want to do next."