Birmingham City manager Alex McLeish has confirmed that James McFadden will be out of action for up to eight weeks.
The Scotland striker took a knock to the medial ligaments in his left knee during a collision with Derby County’s Nacer Barazite nine days ago.
Although it is not the same knee as the one McFadden had a cartilage operation on last season, it is still bad news and the latest chapter in an injury and illness-hit career at Birmingham since joining from Everton in January 2008.
The 25-year-old Glaswegian, who has scored four goals from 19 starts for Birmingham this season, went to see a specialist in London last week and as McLeish revealed the verdict was up to two months on the sidelines.
“We took Faddy to see a top specialist and the verdict was that there was no cruciate damage, which was good, but there was medial ligament damage,” said the Birmingham manager
“It will rule him out for about two months, which is a blow. Eight weeks, that looks like the maximum, but you never know and I don’t really like to put timescales on injuries.”
“Unfortunately, these things happen. Not just here (at Birmingham).
“I look at Arsenal and Mikael Silvestre suffered the same thing as Stephen Kelly, who tore his thigh, and did it again during his rehab. Silvestre was clinically OK, then it did the injury again.”
McFadden’s compatriot Garry O’Connor is aiming to return from groin surgery at the end of the month which means, for the time being, McLeish will be able to call on four players to lead his strike-force – new signing Carlos Costly, Kevin Phillips, Cameron Jerome and Marcus Bent.
However Scott Sinclair, the on-loan Chelsea teenager, is more than capable of moving into a central forward position from his usual role from the wing and McLeish has expressed his delight that the 19-year-old is staying at St Andrew’s until the end of the season.
The Scotsman is also excited with the midfield competition, certainly on the flanks, that he is currently able to call-on.
“I had Scott in the office on Monday (after the 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday) going over his touches, his positional play when we didn’t have the ball, and I thought that he had his best game yet,” insisted McLeish.
“We did use the width better at Sheffield, especially in the second-half, and Scott showed that he’s very dangerous.
“All he needs is a couple of yards to commit a defender, get by him and get a cross in.
“He got a couple of crosses in, of course the killer one for the goal, from Sheffield’s point of view, was a cracker.
“In the first-half, he also put one in with his left foot, which was Lee Bowyer’s header saved by the ‘keeper at the near post.
“The key is, of course to get players on the end of those crosses.
“So I think that Scott had his best game and Hameur Bouazza again did well and looked a threat.
“It’s competition. Sebastian Larsson, who is nearing top fitness again, he’s had a stop-start kind of season, has seen Scott come in and knows he’s got a fight on his hands.
“I’m looking for these players who have come in, and also those who have and are coming back from injury, like Larsson and Gary McSheffrey – who has started training again at full tilt – to show me what they can do and step up another level.
“So we’re going to have tremendous competition within the camp if these wide men we have got, and the others who have come in, can keep performing.”