Coleraine’s hopes of securing European football for another season have been dealt a blow as defender Lyndon Kane has broken his foot and faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines.
21-year-old Kane sustained the injury during last Saturday’s 1-0 win over Warrenpoint Town at Milltown, suffering a recurrence of a metatarsal injury sustained at the end of last season.
The Bannsiders have endured a rocky first half of the season following the departure of Irish Cup-winning manager Oran Kearney in the summer.
Rodney McAree’s side have recently hit form, however, with three wins from their last four and the other a thrilling 3-3 draw with the-league leaders Ballymena United.
And they adjusted to life without the versatile Kane well, downing Cliftonville 4-1 at home to avenge their 2-1 defeat at the Showgrounds in October.
“All the boys and everyone associated with the club are devastated at the news Lyndon has broken his foot again,” captain Stephen O’Donnell told the club’s website.
“This is the worst news for someone who has worked so hard to come back from injury twice before.
“I have seen him over the winter nights in the gym and working on his own with Alan Millar to get back.
“I have seen the passion he has for this club and the devastation of missing the Irish Cup final last season. I have seen the individual work he has been doing when the boys are training.
“I have seen him get back to playing and cruelly break down again. He doesn’t deserve the disappointment. He doesn’t deserve the heartbreak or the long road to recovery starting again.
“He loves this club and just wants to play football. Trust me, Lyndon will be back stronger. He will be back hungrier, and he will be a big part in the future of this club.
“It’s important that not only us as a group of players, but us as a club rally around Lyndon. That includes you.
“The messages of well wishing, the words of encouragement and support all help throughout this first phase when he can do little rehab or work.
“Believe me Lyndon is as mentally strong as they come. We all wish him a speedy recovery and me and the boys will be doing everything we can to help get him back playing again injury free.”