WALES manager Chris Coleman received a blow yesterday with the news that Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Andrew Crofts will miss the rest of the season.
An MRI scan on Crofts’ injured knee revealed that he ruptured his cruciate ligament midway through the second half of Brighton’s 1-0 home win over Birmingham City in the Championship.
The 29-year-old was forced to miss several matches for Brighton last year through injury and manager Oscar Garcia paid tribute to the Wales international for the contribution he has made to the side this season.
“I am very sorry for Crofty, he has been excellent this season and a key player,” Garcia told the club's official website.
“He wanted to play a big part in our season after missing so much of the last campaign through injury.
“Of course, he has already done that, with his performances and the key goals he has scored, and he will be a big loss – but we have a good squad with strength in depth to deal with this type of situation.”
Crofts is expected to be sidelined for at least six months and looks set to return for Brighton during pre-season at the earliest.
He will undergo knee surgery later this week, and Garcia added: “On behalf of all at the club I would like to wish him a speedy recovery.”
Crofts will miss Wales’ international friendly against Iceland at the Cardiff City Stadium on Wednesday, March 5.
He will also be a big doubt for the matches in August and September as Coleman’s squad begin the qualifying tournament for Euro 2016.
The qualifying draw for the tournament, to be held in France, will take place at the Palais des Congrès Acropolis, Nice, on February 23.
Meanwhile, Crofts’ Wales midfield teammate Jack Collison believes Andy Carroll can lift West Ham out of Barclays Premier League relegation danger.
England striker Carroll made his long-awaited return from foot trouble as the East London side claimed a 2-0 Premier League victory at Cardiff City on Saturday.
“The big man has been working so hard to get fit, so it's great for him to be back out on the pitch and well done to him,” said Hammers midfielder Collison.
"Now he can build on what he did at Cardiff.
"There were a couple of dodgy touches from him, but it was a fantastic ball for the last goal and we'll all happy to get him back."