Crewe Alexandra’s teenage striker Ryan Colclough is expected to be out of action until the new year after sustaining a broken jaw against MK Dons last weekend.
Second year Apprentice, Colclough, suffered the injury in a challenge with Don’s midfielder Darren Potter.
The 17-year-old forward had hoped to return by the end of November but after seeing a specialist he underwent surgery on Friday to pin the jaw.
The injury is a blow to Colclough who was making only his second appearance for Alex and had entered the fray to replace fellow teenager Max Clayton, who was himself suffering with a dead leg.
But Colclough too ended the game in pain after the challenge from Potter, which Crewe boss Steve Davis was surprised to see go unpunished.
“Colclough took a nasty knock,” Davis told BBC Radio Stoke. “He played on with it and afterwards was in a lot of pain.
“I don’t think it was intentional, or that it should have been a sending off, but the lad certainly leads with his arm.”
“And, when you raise your arms around someone’s face, you know there’s a chance you are going to hurt them.”
“It was right in front of the ref, who was about six feet away and didn’t even give a free-kick.The best way of stopping a 17-year-old is to rough him up a little bit and maybe that’s what he was trying to do.”
While the injury is a blow to the youngster, Davis has confidence that he’ll soon be back in action.
“It’s a little setback for him as he’s been pushing himself into the squad and he’s been getting on the pitch,” added the Alex boss.
“I’m sure he’ll recover. It’s just the mental scars it might leave when he makes that sort of challenge again.”