LINFIELD manager David Jeffrey admitted he ‘feared the worst’ when centre-back William Murphy was forced out of Tuesday’s County Antrim Shield clash against Crusaders.
The veteran defender sustained what appeared to be a serious facial injury after only 23 minutes of the 1-0 semi final victory at Seaview – Michael Carvill’s early goal booked the Blues a spot in the decider.
“William received an awful crack in the cheek,” said Jeffrey.
“We originally thought his cheekbone was broken.
“It was a sickening blow to the face. The doctor was on the bench and ordered him off right away.
“After further inspection later on, the medical team thought the injury wasn’t as serious as first thought, so William didn’t require hospital treatment.
“It’s much too early to say whether he’ll be available for the weekend.
“We’ll access him again at training on Thursday night.”
Jeffrey will again be without a posse of his squad for the weekend Premier League trip to Donegal Celtic.
“Matthew Tipton, Stephen Douglas, Michael Gault and Ryan Henderson all out injured,” he added.
“David Armstrong and, Billy Joe Burns will again be missing due to suspension, but Mark McAllister should return to the squad following an automatic one match ban.”
Jeffrey heaped praise on new signing Johnny Black, who made his debut in the win over the Crues.
“I thought he was immense,” he added.
“He started off at left back and then moved to into the centre when William had to come off. Johnny was superb.”
Former Glentoran defender Black, who was snapped up from Coleraine, admitted pulling on the blue shirt was a ‘dream come true’.
“I’ve always wanted to play my football here as I have always been a Linfield supporter,” he said.
“Now I want to kick on and cement my place in the team.
“As a defender your aim is always to keep a clean sheet, so I was delighted to contribute at Seaview.
“I was happy to move into the centre when Winkie had to go off.
“I’ve been playing in that role for the Swifts recently.
“The game was a bit of a battle – but you always get it like that at Seaview.
“It’s great for the club to be in another cup final.
“Some people have been writing us off, but we have quality players at this club.
“Hopefully, we can now go on a run and turn around our league form and results. We know we have to do better,” he added.