Fleetwood Town injury 'bombshell': Darnell Johnson out for season
Fleetwood Town head coach Simon Grayson has revealed they will be without Darnell Johnson for the remainder of the season.
Four games into his career with the club and the centre-back has suffered an Achilles injury, meaning he joins Brad Halliday on the list of long-term absentees.
Johnson was signed in the summer after a period on trial, penning a two-year deal having featured in the pre-season friendly with Leeds United.
The former Leicester City defender, 23, then scored on his Town debut in their win against Cheltenham Town.
Further appearances followed against Plymouth Argyle and Leicester City’s U21s before he limped off during the first half of Town’s win at Rotherham United 10 days ago, having fallen awkwardly.
Speaking after that match, Grayson feared it was an Achilles problem – and that worry has now come to pass.
He said: “We were given a bit of a bombshell the other day that Darnell Johnson has done his Achilles and will be out for the season.
“He’s done the tendon, which is obviously terrible news for Darnell. Couple that with Brad Halliday being out for the season, and we were missing Shayden Morris with a foot injury, Harrison Holgate has a tight Achilles, Anthony Pilkington and Dan Batty, who is struggling with a bit of illness.
“These are players who really influence our team but the younger players are coming in and taking opportunities.
“Like with Brad Halliday, we’d have to appeal to the EFL to see if we could take Darnell out of the 22-man squad we’ve registered. If we get the green light, we can bring someone in.
“It’s not great news for Darnell, first and foremost, but hopefully we will be able to replace him in the squad because we just need another option.”
There had been a greater emphasis on the youth set-up at Highbury this season, a process which has now been accelerated.
Paddy Lane made his senior debut at Rotherham before setting up Callum Morton’s goal in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland.
Grayson said: “Paddy put in a great ball for the first goal and we really like the kid. We’re happy with the younger players we’ve got within the first-team squad, the likes of Chris Conn-Clarke and Barry Baggley.
“They were on the bench because they are talented footballers with a bright future.”
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