Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has urged defender Mikey Devlin to stay strong after the Scotland international was ruled out for three months due to an ankle injury.
The former Hamilton Accies captain, who came off the bench at St Mirren on Saturday, faces an operation after suffering ankle ligament damage in training.
It’s a fresh blow for the 27 year-old who only recently returned to the first team squad after missing the start of the season due to a hamstring tear.
McInnes said: “There is a real sense of frustration and disappointment for Mikey and ourselves.
“He blocked a shot in training and he has damaged a ligament in his ankle and needs an operation and he could be out for three months.
“He will go and get his operation next week.
“He can’t get a run or any luck together which every player needs. He has had more than his fair share of injuries.”
McInnes was keen to get Devlin match practice following such a long spell on the sidelines and he believes it is important the defender, who is the final year of his contract, remains positive as he starts out on another road to recovery.
The Dons boss said: “The run of injuries has been hard to take in and so challenging for Mikey.
“We hoped he would play a friendly game last week but felt his groin tight.
“He hasn’t started a competitive game since February and based on that we were reluctant to throw him in.
“We arranged a game for Tuesday against Celtic’s younger lads but he never made the game. He then trained Thursday and Friday and played a part at St Mirren on Saturday.
“It must be a challenge for him. I picked up a few injuries in my own career and I know how challenging it can be.
“I had a few in a short period of time and you just need to keep working hard and hope there are better days ahead for you.
“It has been pretty relentless for Mikey. We are all gutted because he is a popular boy about the place.
“We all have that empathy and understanding of what he is having to deal with at the minute. He has to face the operation, see where we are and then go from there.”
While Devlin comes to terms with his setback Scott Wright is on course to return next month after a successful hernia operation on Saturday.
McInnes, who confirmed talks are continuing with Wright’s agent on a new deal, said: “It went fine. Scott will be out for four weeks from Saturday there.
“So he will be back just after the Dundee United game (on January 2) and have a chance for the Rangers game (on January 10).
The Dons boss also hopes he can call on the services of loan striker Marley Watkins for the second half of the campaign.
Waktins is recovering from surgery on his hamstring but is due to return to Bristol City at the end of the month.
McInnes said: “He has had his surgery and he is on track to be back in January, barring on set-backs. It would be beyond the end of his loan but we would be keen to resurrect that, if it was possible.”