Hull City striker Will Keane will miss the rest of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury. The former Manchester United striker, who joined Hull this summer from Old Trafford, suffered the injury in Hull's 2-1 win over Southampton before the international break.
It is a massive blow for the 23-year-old as he will undergo his second cruciate surgery in four years – the first injury occurred in 2012/13 – and he missed the entirety of that season as well. He was growing into an integral figure under manager Mike Phelan, starting in four consecutive games for the Tigers, but will have to see out his recovery from the sidelines.
His absence puts massive pressure on Phelan, who will also be without Abel Hernandez for the next three weeks as he suffered a groin injury, while Adama Diomande is serving a suspension. Dieumerci Mbokani is the only striker currently at his disposal ahead of their crucial game against Sunderland on 19 November. However, Phelan downplayed the setback and urged Keane to return stronger as the Tigers are set to enter a relegation battle without their key man.
"Everybody at the club wishes Will well for a full recovery ahead of what is going to be a long road back to action," said Phelan, as quoted by Sky Sports. "To lose a player of Will's quality and potential for such a long period of time is a big blow, but I'm sure his determination and mind set will see him through the tough journey ahead. This is another one of those. Sometimes players can handle that because they've been through it before and I'm sure he will."
Hull started the season in great form, taking seven points from their first four fixtures, but have not performed well over the next seven games, something Phelan has to rectify if they have to keep themselves in the hunt for a league spot next season. Phelan started off as an interim manager at Hull, but signed a contract with the club, which will see him at the helm until at least the end of the season.