Chuba Akpom is facing an extended period on the sidelines with a back injury which will come as a big blow for the striker, who was trying to break into the first-team with an extended run during Arsenal's EFL Cup run. The Gunners beat Reading on Tuesday (25 October) to progress to the fifth round of the competition, but the England U21 international was not part of the squad and is unlikely to be part of it for the next round as well.

According to the Independent, the Arsenal forward is likely to miss the rest of 2016 before making a return in the New Year. Akpom has reportedly suffered a stress fracture in his back, which will require lengthy rehabilitation before he can make a return to action.

The 21-year-old had confirmed the significant injury setback via his official Instagram account late in September, but recently posted that he is on his way to making a comeback sooner rather than later. There have been no updates from the club regarding Akpom's injury, but the report claims that it is more long-term than a minor knock.

"Minor setbacks major comebacks, soon be back doing what I love," Akpom wrote on his official Instagram page, two weeks after confirming his back injury.

Minor setbacks major comebacks , soon be back doing what I love ♥️⚽️

A photo posted by Chuba Akpom (@cakpom) on

The latest injury will be a major setback in terms of his chances of breaking into the first-team, which he was close to making this season. Akpom remained at Arsenal this summer owing to the uncertain striker situation rather than continue his development on loan, he started during the north London club's win over Nottingham Forest in the third round of the EFL Cup but missed the clash against Reading, and the current injury is likely to see him miss further clashes which will see him drop down in the pecking order when he eventually makes his comeback.

Gutted to be out for a while with this back injury. Ill be back stronger 💪🏽 ⚽️

A photo posted by Chuba Akpom (@cakpom) on