Caley Thistle midfielder Aaron Doran’s knee injury is worse than first feared, with the Irishman facing an absence of at least six months following surgery this week.
Doran underwent an operation on his right knee after recent problems, with manager Richie Foran initially hoping to have him back for pre-season.
The 25-year-old is now looking likely to be sidelined until at least September, however, in another cruel blow for the former Blackburn Rovers player, who missed most of last season after surgery on his left knee.
Foran is determined to keep Doran’s spirits high during his absence and the Caley Jags manager said: “It’s looking like at least another six months, so it is going to be a test of his mental strength.
“It’s another obstacle put in his way – one which he will get over and one we’ll make sure he gets over.
“We have enough people about the place to look after him. We’ll have him in here, keep him involved. We’ll get him involved with the young team, get him going to games, doing a bit of coaching.
“Rather than walking on the treadmill, he’ll be out walking on the training ground, right in the thick of it with us.
“I’ll have him in the office – any way we can keep him busy. Keeping his mind occupied is the main thing but he has a girlfriend at home and a child on the way. That’ll keep him right as well.
“He knows there are far worse things in life. We’ve spoken to him and he’s in a good place.”
Foran, whose bottom-of-the-table side takes on Partick Thistle at Firhill tomorrow, is confident Doran will return to his best once he has recovered from his latest setback.
Foran added: “This type of injury, 10 to 20 years ago, you were maybe not coming back from it. In this day and age, they can repair anything to a certain extent.
“We have got him the best of treatment. He’s been to London to see one of the best specialists in Europe, who has done his operation.
“Aaron at his best, on his game, is one of the best attackers in the league. I think a lot of managers would agree with that, so he has been missed a lot this season.
“He’ll get the right rehab and we’ll get him back. Six months down the line we’ll see the best of Aaron again.”