TROWBRIDGE professional footballer Lewis Haldane has been forced to retire from the game at the age of 27 because of injury.

Haldane was left with irreparable cartilage damage after breaking his leg in two places during a match against Tranmere in August of last year.

He said: "I am devastated that I have had to make this decision and it is one I have thought long and hard about.

"I'd like the thank my family and friends for their continued support throughout the last couple of years, as well as the manager and the medical staff at Port Vale, in addition to all of the supporters. Everyone's kind thoughts are appreciated."

A Port Vale club statement said: "Port Vale is extremely sad to announce the retirement of Lewis Haldane through injury.

"Haldane, 27, has not fully recovered since breaking his leg in two places against Tranmere Rovers in August 2011.

"The injury left him with substantial cartilage damage, which doctors have deemed as irreparable.''

Vale manager Micky Adams said: "The thoughts of everyone at the club go out to Lewis.

"Throughout the time I have worked with him, he has been a consummate professional and we have done everything in our power to help to return to fitness.

"Unfortunately, the injury he suffered was too severe. This is a difficult time for Lewis and we are working with him to help him prepare for his future."

Haldane started his footballing career at Trowbridge Wanderers before moving to Southampton youth at the age of 10.

He was released five years later, when he returned to Trowbridge Town and worked his way through the youth and reserve team before playing for their first team at the age of 16.

He enjoyed a prolific spell at the Wiltshire League club, averaging better than a goal a game, and at the start of the 2002-03 season he signed as a YTS player for Bristol Rovers.

Haldane scored 17 goals in more than 100 appearances for Rovers, helping them to victory in the 2007 League Two play-off final at Wembley before going on to have loan spells at Weston Super Mare, Oxford United, Forest Green Rovers.

After a season-long loan spell with Vale in 2009-10, he signed on a free transfer in August 2010, going on to make 16 appearances.