Dundee United boss Csaba Laszlo has resigned himself to losing Willo Flood because of what he called a “stupid” injury.
The Irishman is expected to be out until the New Year after dislocating his shoulder, although Laszlo is hoping for a best-case scenario of three weeks on the sidelines.
United captain Flood had to leave the pitch during stoppage-time at the end of the Tangerines’ 2-1 win over Dunfermline at Tannadice on Saturday after being bundled to the ground.
He subsequently visited hospital to have an X-Ray to see if he had broken any bones.
Thankfully, that is not the case but the worry is that he will still be out until next month, thereby missing crucial fixtures against Morton (a), Queen of the South (a), Livingston (h) and St Mirren (a).
Laszlo, who thought the whistle should have been blown by referee Euan Anderson for an earlier foul before Flood was floored and damaged his shoulder, said: “We are feeling unlucky that Willo is injured but also lucky that there is nothing broken.
“He has had a scan and an X-ray done so we are hoping that it will be around three weeks before he can come and play again with the team.
“In football you have injuries but this was a really stupid injury.
“I think before it was a foul but the referee did not stop the game. After that Willo was pushed from behind.
“I don’t put the responsibility on the referee as it was an accident but if he had stopped the match I think we would have had a foul and Willo would not then have been pushed.
“I am not happy about it because we do not have a huge squad.
“I now look to the other players and they have to jump in and do the job.
“We realise that we are losing a player who, both off the park and on the field, is a big personality.
“In the last three games he has been the leader.
“He knows the team and knows everything about Dundee United so this kind of player is not easy to replace.
“We also have other players, though, so they will get their chance.
“All we can hope for is that he comes back very quickly,” added Laszlo.
“We can’t panic and say: ‘Oh we have an important player out so we are dead.’ We are not.
“We have to replace him and we will do so.”