Colchester United duo of Frankie Kent and Denny Johnstone both ruled out for the season

Chris Porter sits on the ground in disappointment after a second-half chance goes begging at Accring

Chris Porter sits on the ground in disappointment after a second-half chance goes begging at Accrington Stanley, in Saturday's 2-1 defeat. Picture: PAGEPIX

Promotion-chasing Colchester United have suffered a double blow with the news that both centre-half Frankie Kent and Denny Johnstone have been ruled out for the season, through injury.

It has been confirmed that Kent ruptured ankle ligaments during the 2-1 home win over Barnet from 12 days ago, while front-runner Johnstone sustained a torn cartilage midway through the first-half of last Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Accrington.

Physio Tony Flynn revealed: “Frankie (Kent) landed extremely awkwardly on his ankle in the Barnet game and the subsequent scans revealed he has ruptured ligaments in his ankle.

“Surgery is required and he will be going under the knife in the early part of next week. The recovery time is estimated at three months,

“Denny limped off in Saturday’s defeat at Accrington and then had to be stretchered to the changing room.

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“At the time, he couldn’t straighten his knee so there was no other choice than to get him onto crutches and keep him off it.

“By Sunday morning, the knee had locked in the flexed position and we got him in to the specialist on Monday morning to see what the damage was.

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“Unfortunately, he had suffered a Bucket Handle tear in his cartilage and it needed to be stitched back together.

“Like Frankie, Denny will be out of action until next season now.”

However, better news surrounds injured centre-half Tom Eastman, who is having a series of injections in his damaged ankle, rather than an operation, and so could return before the end of the season – it had been feared that he would not be back in action until next term.

Flynn said: “Hopefully, we won’t have the three of them out for the season though.

“Tom is having a series of Prolotherapy injections to heal the rupture in his ankle ligaments.

“He had one earlier this week and will have another one or two depending on how the specialist thinks it’s going.

“An operation was an option for Tom and that would have meant him joining Frankie and Denny in being out all season.

“This course of action has a shorter recovery time and gives us the chance to get Tom back for the last few weeks of the season.”

Meanwhile the U’s entertain relegation-troubled Hartlepool this Saturday,

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