Blow for Motherwell as Hartley out for at least two months with foot injury

Motherwell defender Peter Hartley could miss the rest of the season with a foot injury.

The centre-back has been ruled out for at least two months following a visit to a specialist.

The 29-year-old had been playing through the problem in late 2017 and had not featured this year before aggravating the injury shortly after making his loan move from Blackpool a permanent transfer.

Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson said: “Peter is not going to require surgery but he is going to be out for a minimum of two months.

“It’s a problem that he had with his foot, just innocuous, jogging along, and he felt something pop in his foot.

“We have had him see a specialist. It wasn’t as bad as possibly we first feared, but we will be lucky to get him back before the end of the season.”

Motherwell have another central defender, Ellis Plummer, out with a broken leg but the form of Tom Aldred has helped soften the blow of Hartley’s absence since his loan move from Bury last month.

Robinson pointed to the emergence of Barry Maguire as a further reason not to further delve into the transfer market to replace Hartley.

But Robinson has still not ruled out a move to sign a striker despite the impact made by Curtis Main and Nadir Ciftci and the return to fitness of Ryan Bowman.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s visit of Kilmarnock, Robinson said: “We’re always looking, we have some potential targets that we are looking at this week.

“Ryan Bowman has been training all week so he could be involved on Saturday. George Newell has just been a bit stop-start, he has had a foot problem and then a hamstring problem.

“If I had both of them fully fit then probably not but we are still keeping our eyes and ears to the ground to see what’s out there.”

Meanwhile, Robinson stated goalkeeping coach Craig Hinchliffe had been impressed by India Under-17 international Dheeraj Singh Moirangthem, who is on trial at Fir Park.

“He’s been good,” Robinson said. “He is only a young boy. He has been training with our under-20s and had a couple of sessions with the first team, but there is real potential with the boy. Craig is really impressed with what he has seen.

“He was the star of the show in the Under-17 World Cup, so you can’t ignore that. We get a lot of contacts here, people know we are a really good window to put players in.”

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