Colchester United’s Doug Loft ruled out for three months

Flashback: Doug Loft, battling with Gary Roberts at Portsmouth, in his previous last start at Fratto

Flashback: Doug Loft, battling with Gary Roberts at Portsmouth, in his previous last start at Fratton Park on August 20, 2016, until he returned to the starting line-up at Morecambe this week. Picture: PAGEPIX

Experienced midfielder Loft, the Gills’ former club captain, was just settling in at his new club, and had enjoyed his first league start in last month’s 2-0 defeat at Portsmouth.

But the 29-year-old is now set for a long spell on the sidelines, which is frustrating both for himself and for the League Two U’s.

Manager John McGreal revealed the bad news at yesterday’s official press conference, ahead of tomorrow’s home game against Blackpool.

“Doug is set to be out for two to three months,” rued McGreal.

“It’s a blow for the player, and a blow for the club. It’s certainly a body blow for him.

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“He looks disappointed, and he is disappointed. We are all disappointed, although he’s still being very positive around the club, egging everyone on, despite the injury.

“He is trying to be positive, and I’m sure he will come back better.

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“His appearance at Portsmouth kicked off his injury. Footballers do get injuries, and he will recover,” added McGreal.

Maidstone-born Loft had his problems with injuries during his second and final season with Gillingham last season, principally hamstring and Achilles difficulties which plagued his second half of the campaign.

He has only started a couple of games for the U’s to date, making his full debut during the 4-0 defeat at Brighton in the League Cup.

He appeared as a substitute to help close out the home wins over Cambridge United and Grimsby, and was then handed his first league start at Portsmouth.

Now he will be looking to recuperate quickly, to be back before the Christmas period.

At least McGreal has plenty of options in central midfield. Craig Slater is back from Scotland Under-21 duty, and Owen Garvan is on the comeback trail after a pre-season injury.

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