Chris hughton has spoken this afternoon ahead of Sunday's trip to Aston Villa and confirmed that Leroy Fer has indeed suffered a hamstring strain in training.
But he stopped short of putting a time frame on Fer's absence and dismissed early reports that it could be 6-10 weeks out for the Dutch midfielder.
"No that is wild speculation. That is wide of the mark," he said. "The injury only happened yesterday so we are using today and tomorrow to assess it. We`ll certainly be able to give a clearer picture in the next few days but anybody coming up with periods of time has to be unfounded because at this particular moment we don`t know ourselves. It is a big blow because of the timing going into these last 11 games or so of the season, but we are not going to rush and try to assess it today in terms of how long he can be out.
"You can take an initial diagnosis and then when it settles down it is better news. When we know for definite and we have that knowledge ourselves we will share it."
Jonny Howson's return to fitness is very timely after he came through 60 minutes against Everton in the U21 mid-week game and Hughton also confirmed that Ryan Bennett is also back fit.
"As much as it is a disappointment for Leroy it is an opportunity for someone else," said Hughton. "We have a competitive squad at the moment. Not just with Jonny coming back, but Alex (Tettey) and Wes (Hoolahan) is another option. We have players coming back to fitness and that is why you want that. Michael Turner, Elliott Bennett and Jonas Gutierrez are still out but Ryan Bennett is back now fit and that is a real plus for us."
The loss of Fer is a real blow but it does mean a chance for someone else to come into the team. Whilst I think it likely that Howson will play in the position vacated by Fer, it would be terrific if Wes Hoolahan got a chance against Villa and ended up running the show.
That would be priceless.
Quotes courtesy of Eastern Daily Press
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