Blackpool skipper Jimmy Ryan is to undergo surgery which will keep him out of action for months.
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The midfielder has yet to play this season, having suffered a knock to his knee in Blackpool’s last game of 2017-18 at Rotherham United.
It was initially thought the injury would clear up with rest over the summer but the 30-year-old has been told by a specialist that an operation is his only option.
It’s a major blow for manager Terry McPhillips, who said: “It’s not looking too good for Jimmy.
“I think he’ll have an operation quite soon. It’s a shame it has taken so long to get to this point but we can only be governed by the advice of the specialist.
“Originally that advice was to give it some time but in the end he’ll have surgery on it, so we wish him all the best with the rehab.
“I would imagine it will be a few months.”
On a positive note, the injury picked up by Harry Pritchard during last Saturday’s win at Plymouth Argyle is not thought to be serious.
The midfielder, signed from Maidenhead United during the summer, was enjoying a fine first half at Home Park, bagging an assist for Mark Cullen’s match-winning goal.
He hobbled off shortly before half-time with a back injury and was replaced by John O’Sullivan.
“I don’t think it’s serious.” McPhillips added. “He just jarred his back, so we’ll assess him. He’s been with the physio.
“I thought he was playing ever so well and looking dangerous. It was disappointing for him to come off, as it was for us. But John O’Sullivan has been knocking on the door for a while now.
“I thought he made a good contribution and a really good impact, as he has been doing when he’s come on.
“Again he should have scored with his head, it’s as simple as that, so we’ve been practising those finishes again.”
While the Seasiders will be without the suspended Donervon Daniels for Saturday’s clash with Luton Town at Bloomfield Road, they could be boosted with the return of Chris Taylor and Joe Bunney.
The pair have been missing for several weeks, and although McPhillips didn’t confirm if they would feature this Saturday he did suggest they are not far away.
He said: “Chris Taylor is getting closer, so that’s good. Joe Bunney shouldn’t be too far away either, so that’s also good.”