Scott McKenna has been ruled out of Nottingham Forest’s bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League this season after breaking his collarbone.
After two months out through injury, McKenna returned to Forest’s starting lineup in a 2-0 home defeat to Manchester United last weekend, but was substituted after half an hour away to Liverpool on Saturday.
McKenna gripped his left flank as he pulled away, moments after taking a knock while defending a set piece in Forest’s 3-2 defeat that left them second bottom of the table and a point adrift of safety.
Boss Steve Cooper has revealed the scans have highlighted the worst, with the Scotland centre-back ruled out of Forest’s last six games of the campaign, starting against Brighton at the City Ground on Wednesday.
“He broke his collarbone so unfortunately he’s finished for the season,” said Cooper. “It is a huge blow and a real blow to him who has just come back from a hamstring injury and has been working so hard to get back in shape.
“He is a great professional who always gives his all in everything he does, so for him to suffer the bad luck he has with this injury is really bad luck.
“He’s naturally feeling down, but he’s still a positive guy who’s pretty low-key and gets on with his job. He is a great professional and a great teammate.
“He would have liked to keep putting everything into it for the rest of the season, but unfortunately that’s not the case.”
Cooper now has a dozen players sidelined for the visiting Seagulls as Forest looks to end a dismal run in which he has failed to win in any of his last 11 games.
Forest picked up just three points in that span to move from 13th to 19th, but Cooper is hopeful the injury situation will soon ease after releasing an update on Cheikhou Kouyate and Serge Aurier.
“Cheikhou and Serge are not far from back in full training with the group,” Cooper said. “They’re not quite ready yet because they’re in the back of their recovery.
“Aside from that, the rest of the guys are hurt.”
As they look to end a four-game losing streak, Forest face a Brighton side who sit eighth in the table with games in hand over all around them, although the FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United of Sunday ended in heartbreaking fashion with defeat on penalties.
Cooper is under no illusions about how tough this match will be, but hopes he can bring some comfort home, having taken five of his six top-flight victories this season in his own backyard.
“Brightonton have rightfully received a lot of praise for the season they are having,” added Cooper.
“When you face an opponent, you study them even more and it seems like a really aligned and close-knit club who are very clear on how they do everything. He’s had a lot of wear on the pitch this season.
“He’s going to be a really tough opponent. The games are getting more intense now, there’s a lot more control over them and the outcomes. We have to look after ourselves.
“We are at home, we know we can have a good time there – we are giving everything we can to make Wednesday unique.”