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Walsall skipper Joss Labadie set for nine months on sidelines

Walsall have been dealt another devastating injury blow as captain Joss Labadie is set for around nine months out with an ACL injury.

Joss Labadie is helped off the pitch
Joss Labadie is helped off the pitch

Saddlers boss Michael Flynn was speaking to the press as part of the announcement that Poundland have become the club’s main sponsor – taking on the stadium naming rights and being on the front of the kits.

And Flynn revealed Labadie, having limped off in last weekend’s win over Port Vale, is set to be on the sidelines until next year.

It is an extremely cruel setback given striker Conor Wilkinson has also undergone surgery for the same injury in recent weeks.

When asked for an update on Labadie, Flynn said: “He’s out for nine months, done his ACL.

“I’ve seen Joss go down many times holding his knee, fearing the worst and then been clear, and this time I thought there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.

“It’s crazy. I’m gutted for Joss as he’s done it before – not the same leg, it’s the different leg this time.

“It’s another key player for me that is going to be missing for a long time.

“The one thing I’ll say is that we’ll have a good team in January – by the time he and Conor come back. It’s a kick in the teeth and again, it could affect what we’re trying to do (in the summer) as there’s two wages that are out of the equation.

“It’s something I’ve got to be mindful of, but my first thoughts are with Joss and Conor, and that they have the best rehab they can.

“Hopefully, they’ll be back stronger than before the injuries.”

Flynn worked with Labadie at previous club Newport County and is astounded to have had both the midfielder and Wilkinson suffer ACL injuries in such quick succession.

“Two ACL injuries in two weeks, I’ve never seen it, especially two innocuous ones like that,” added Flynn.

“Conor’s was a kick. I’ve seen it when there has been nobody around and they’ve twisted and just collapsed.

“I’ve seen them. I’ve seen bad tackles and a cruciate done.

“I’ve never really seen a kick where it hyper-extends the ligament and basically snaps the ligament.

“It’s sad. It’s sad for both lads. But they’re both strong lads.

“They’ve got our full support and can speak to me any time.

“We’ll try to get them the best rehab we can and get them back firing as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Walsall have had to cancel their end of season awards dinner which was scheduled for Sunday.

The Saddlers now plan to hold a presentation after the final game of the League Two season against Swindon on Saturday week.

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