Manchester City’s teenage defender Nedum Onuoha will miss the remainder of the season after suffering knee ligament damage.
The England Under-21 international picked up a problem in training and scans have revealed damage to the ligaments which rules Onuoha out for the remaining three months of the campaign.
It is a blow to City boss Stuart Pearce, who has seen 19-year-old Onuoha emerge as one of the most promising young players in the country, and comes at a time when veteran full-back Danny Mills is also sidelined with a broken shin.
“I am disappointed for him,” said Pearce. “He is a smashing young lad, with a great future ahead of him. But he is of an age where he will get over it and come back stronger.”
Pearce also revealed Mills is back in training and should return within a fortnight.
However Claudio Reyna, who has not played since Boxing Day with an ankle injury, is now working with a specialist in Holland.
It will be at least a further three weeks before he is back, meaning the American will miss both the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Aston Villa on February 19 and the Premiership match at Liverpool seven days afterwards.