Michael Beale expects Steven Davis to eventually move into coaching once the midfielder decides to call time on his career – but the Englishman is hopeful that that day remains far off in the distance.

The Northern Irishman, who is the most-capped British men’s player of all time, suffered a devastating ACL injury in a freak training ground accident in December that ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign and seriously called into question whether or not he would ever kick a ball again.

The 38-year-old remains on the road to recovery but it will be a long and arduous path for him. Beale, though, is determined to do everything he can to help Davis traverse it – because he feels such an illustrious career deserves a fitting send-off.

“He is focused right now on not ending his career and getting back to playing,” Beale explained. “When I first came back I thought Davis had more time in him and five subs gives you a lot of options now as a coach.

“We played against Leverkusen and he came on and looked really strong in that game. Then we played Hibs in my first game and he came on for the last half hour and was outstanding.

“Then within the week he got the knee injury. If I go off that snapshot, he will be eight or ten months older – he won’t know, he might go through the rehab and maybe it won’t feel right.

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“We’ll get him ready, we’ll get him back to play and then the options are open. But you can’t rush into coaching because it has to be something you want to do.

“He’ll be in and around the first team as a normal player in terms of his rehab and then there will be a decision.

“At this moment in time Steven has a real burning desire to play and we want to help him get back to that. He’s a Hall of Fame player here and it’s the wrong way for him to end in a training ground accident.

“It’s important Steven’s ambition is to get back playing and for me as a coach to help him have that option.”