Whitey Anderson admits Colm McLaughlin’s prolonged absence is a major body blow for Ballinamallard United.
McLaughlin has been an influential presence in Anderson’s side this season, but is now facing a minimum of six weeks on the sidelines after sustaining a rare hip injury.
“Colm has torn his cartilage in his hip. It is to do with the groin area and it is a very rare injury,” Anderson said.
“It is very disappointing as Colm has been really solid for us. He is quick and versatile, but he could be out long-term.
“It looks like six weeks at least, but we don’t know whether he will need surgery or not.”
McLaughlin picked up the injury in Ballinamallard’s agonising Irish Cup defeat to Coleraine.
The Mallards threw away a two-goal lead before being knocked out on penalties.
“The cup defeat was hard enough to take, but Colm’s injury just compounded the misery,” Anderson added.
“We haven’t played since that cup game as our match with Portadown was postponed last week, so we want to get it out of our system as quickly as possible.
“We have Cliftonville on Saturday which is another massive test for us. We haven’t won in the league since October, so we want to get out of this rut as quickly as possible.
“There is no escaping that we are currently in a relegation scrap.
“But we know one or two wins will drag us away from the bottom.”