Manchester City are preparing themselves for the worst after Michael Johnson injured his knee in training.
The 21-year-old has been battling his way back to full fitness after almost a year out with an abdominal problem but, in announcing his latest setback yesterday, City revealed he could be out for the season.
Manager Mark Hughes told the club website, www.mcfc.co.uk: “We are all disappointed for Michael.
“He has worked so hard to get back into first-team contention and shown everyone what a good player he is.
“Unfortunately he might be out for the season but he will receive the best possible care and attention.”
Johnson will find out the full extent of his injury in the next few days.
After a lengthy absence because of the abdominal problem, he made his comeback in September by playing the final minutes of the home win against West Ham.
He then had a 30-minute run-out a month later and scored in the Carling Cup victory over Coca-Cola Championship side Scunthorpe.
And he was an unused substitute in the victory against Chelsea last week as he closed in on a full first-team return.