BLACKPOOL have been rocked to discover that Chris Basham will be out of action for a month with a broken cheekbone and fractured eye socket.
The midfielder was involved in a clash of heads with Leicester defender Wes Morgan during the first half of last Saturday’s goalless draw.
Although Basham got up and completed the 90 minutes, a scan this week has revealed the extent of the damage.
The 24-year-old had surgery yesterday and is expected to be out for around three to four weeks.
Basham’s injury adds to manager Paul Ince’s midfield woes, with Isaiah Osbourne doubtful after straining a hamstring against Leeds.
Pool welcome Championship strugglers Bristol City to Bloomfield Road tomorrow, hoping to record their first win under Ince at the third attempt.
The new boss has enjoyed a full week with his players in training and said: “It’s been brilliant.
“The lads came in on Monday, nice and bright. We’ve got a lot of work into them this week. It’s been a really good week.
“Last week was a rush, with the games against Leeds and Leicester. But this week we’ve had the chance to have a look at the players and the squad. We’ve learned which players really want to work and which players need a kick up the butt.
“That’s part of being a manager and man-managing your players. I’m still getting to know what they are all about but I obviously know them much better now than I did last week.”
Ince was delighted with his side’s first clean sheet in seven games last weekend.
And the 45-year-old says the defensive side of the game will be very important to his plans.
He added: “We spent two days last week just on defensive situations and I think that showed against Leicester.
“We kept a clean sheet but it was the way we kept it. There was a real desire not to concede and we’ve done a lot of work again this week on defending.
“We’ve looked at Bristol City. They scored five goals from five set-pieces last week against Barnsley, so we’ve worked on that all week.
“We’ve drip-fed the players bits of information all week.
“I like to work on the method of drip-feeding, so that it’s there in their minds by Saturday.
“We’ve also done a lot of work on attacking phases. Hopefully it will all come together.”
While defence is vital, Ince also wants an improvement at the other end.
And he hopes Pool finally get back into their attacking gear against the Robins.
“We need to have a right go at them attacking-wise,” he added. “I don’t care if we win 1-0, 2-0 or whatever, but we have to have that winning mentality. We have to try to win the game.
“That doesn’t mean go gung-ho. We need to keep it tight, try to get the first goal and go on to win the game.
“Bristol will be coming here in a positive mood after a good win, but just because they are where they are in the league (second-bottom), we can’t think we are going to roll them over. They have some good players up front.”