Scott McKenna has been ruled out of Nottingham Forest’s bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League this season because of a fractured collarbone.
After two months out injured, McKenna was restored to Forest’s starting line-up in the 2-0 home defeat against Manchester United last weekend but was substituted after half an hour at Liverpool on Saturday.
McKenna clutched his left side as he made his way off, moments after taking a blow while defending a set-piece in Forest’s 3-2 loss which left them second bottom of the table and a point adrift of safety.
Boss Steve Cooper revealed scans have highlighted the worst, with the Scottish centre-back ruled out of Forest’s last six fixtures of the campaign, starting against Brighton at the City Ground on Wednesday.
“He’s fractured his collarbone, so that’s him done for the season unfortunately,” Cooper said. “It’s a blow and a real blow for him having just returned from a hamstring injury and having worked so hard to get back fit.
“He’s a great professional who always gives his best in everything he does, so for him to suffer the bad luck that he has with this injury is really unfortunate.
“He’s naturally feeling down, he’s a positive guy anyway who is pretty low-key and gets on with his work. He’s a really good professional and a really good team-mate.
“He would have loved to continue committing everything for the rest of the season, but unfortunately that’s not the case.”
Cooper now has a dozen players on the sidelines for the visit of the Seagulls as Forest look to end a dismal run in which they have failed to win in any of their last 11 matches.
Forest have collected only three points in that time to fall from 13th to 19th, but Cooper hopes their injury situation will ease soon as he issued an update on Cheikhou Kouyate and Serge Aurier.
“Cheikhou and Serge are not far off being back in full training with the group,” Cooper said. “They’re not quite ready yet as they are in the back end of their recovery.
“Apart from that, the rest of the guys are injured.”
As they look to end a four-match losing run, Forest go up against a Brighton side that sit eighth in the table with games in hand on everybody around them although their FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United on Sunday ended in agonising fashion with defeat in a penalty shootout.
Cooper is under no illusion as to how tough this fixture will be but hopes they can take some home comforts, having claimed five of their six top-flight wins this season in their own backyard.
“Brighton have quite rightly been getting a lot of praise for the season that they’re having,” Cooper added.
“When you play an opponent, you study them even more and they seem like a really aligned and joined-up club that are very clear about how they do everything. That’s very much been taken on to the pitch this season.
“It’s going to be a really tough opponent. Games are getting more intense now, there’s a lot more scrutiny on them and what ifs around results. We’ve got to look after ourselves.
“We’re at home, we know we can have good days there – we’re giving everything we can to make Wednesday one.”