MICHAEL Appleton admits Blackburn Rovers are down to the “bare bones” in central midfield after Dickson Etuhu made it double injury misery this week.
Rovers’ big money summer signing from Fulham was set to undergo a knee scan yesterday afternoon but it is feared he is facing at least another month on the sidelines having suffered a recurrence of the injury that has seen miss the past two months.
New signing Lee Williamson had already been ruled out of this afternoon’s Championship visit of Leeds United after suffering an ankle ligament injury that could keep him out of action for six weeks – leaving Appleton desperate for reinforcements in the middle of the park.
Etuhu had been identified as a potential key figure over the next few weeks as he closed in on a first team return but the fitness setback suffered in training leaves Appleton concerned over a lack of central options.
The Rovers boss said: “Dickson Etuhu has had a bit of a setback as well.
“He will be going for a scan and hoping he hasn’t done the same injury as before in terms of his medial ligament but it looks that way.
“We have two midfield players who look like they will be out for a minimum of a month and we are short there now.
“We have to look to strengthen.
“There are certain areas we have looked to recruit in but what happened this week means we are pretty short in the central midfield.
“David Dunn has been out for five or six weeks with a calf injury so we are down to the bare bones in terms of Jason Lowe, Danny Murphy and Morten can fill in there at times.
“It does leave us a little bit short.
“These are the sort of things you try and prepare yourself for but to lose two players in the space of a couple of days is difficult.
“It does not take a rocket scientist to realise we are short in those areas.
“I am sure there will be plenty of names rumoured and whispered but we need to get the right ones.
“We want to improve the starting 11.
“If you can find gems out there that can improve the starting 11 then great.”
Appleton is hoping for one of the biggest crowds of the season at Ewood Park turn out to help his side respond to Tuesday’s disappointment at Hull.
Leeds are set to bring in the region of 4,000 supporters, with Appleton urging the home fans to do their bit as Rovers bid to close a seven-point gap between them and the play-off positions.
He said; “Having sat in the stands at Elland Road in midweek, with the Leeds fans right behind their team, it was a great atmosphere. If we can get the crowd to the 19,000 to 20,000, it would give everyone a big boost.
“I am sure the players would respond.
“The team who wins the game will go into Tuesday’s games full of confidence.
“We want to win the game because it is important to keep good home form and I would like to be going into the Leicester game on the back of a win, because they don’t come much tougher.”