MOTHERWELL goalkeeper Trevor Carson is set to be out for the rest of the season, as Fir Park manager Graham Alexander revealed the extent of the Northern Irishman’s knee injury.
It is the latest setback for the 32-year-old keeper, who had fought back from deep vein thrombosis in 2018 and then a meniscus tear earlier this season to reclaim his spot as the club’s number one in December.
He picked up this latest knee problem while collecting a cross in the defeat to Kilmarnock which led to the departure of previous manager Stephen Robinson, with Liam Kelly arriving on loan from QPR to fill the void.
“He is going to be out for a while,” said Alexander. “It looks like months rather than weeks. I try not to pin it down as that’s for the physios.
“I have spoken to Trevor briefly about his rehab. Unfortunately he’s not going to be available for the foreseeable future.”
One man who is looking to make a big impact for Motherwell before the end of the campaign is striker Chris Long, who made his own return from injury as a half-time substitute in Saturday’s defeat to Aberdeen.
The frontman was a key figure for the Steelmen last season, scoring 11 times in 31 appearances, but he has been something of a bit-part player since his summer return to the club, netting just twice this term.
But his new manager says that he can still make an impact, and perhaps even extend his stay in Scotland beyond the expiry of his contract in the summer.
“One hundred per cent he still has a future here – every player could,” he said. “Anyone who has quality and is motivated has a future at this club. I have made that clear.
“I came in with my eyes open and an open mind to everybody. Players have seen that and the opportunity to play in the team that might not have been there before.
“I know Chris Long as he was in England before. I know what he’s done here before. But it’s about what he does now.
“We have managed him a bit in training because he has been out for a month with a muscle injury. But he has qualities that will hurt any team. He is a top quality player and we need those players.”
Alexander admits though that there may be others heading for the Fir Park exit in the coming week, with striker Jordan White – who has been linked with a move to Ross County – among those who may be moved on.
“We want to keep as strong a squad as possible,” he said. “If I don’t see a player getting those starting opportunities and they feel they want to go and play, I would never stand in their way.
“If the player is in the team and I want them to stay I can discuss it with them and fight my corner for them to stay. If they aren’t in the team it is a harder sell to say how much you need them, but they aren’t starting every week. I try not to do that.
“As a player I always wanted to play every week and if I wasn’t it drained me. If a player feels like that, I would rather help them go and play elsewhere as it is a short career, rather than keep them here in case four weeks down the line I need them.
“I don’t think that is a healthy environment to have because then you have a bloated squad that has demotivated players that can impact the whole atmosphere. We don’t want that.
“If we can get a tight squad, touch wood, injury free, that’s how we like to work. If we bring players in, natural housekeeping and opportunities suggest some people will probably go out.”