Southend United frontman Nile Ranger has been ruled out for the rest of the season after sustaining a groin injury during the Blues goalless Sky Bet League Two with Salford City at Root Hall Stadium.
The match marked Ranger’s return to league football following a two-year absence. However, his second Blues debut – after arriving as a second-half substitute from Emile Acquah – lasted just seven minutes before his match, and subsequently, the season was brought to its conclusion.
Speaking to www.southendunited.co.uk. Blues boss, Mark Molesley, explained: “Unfortunately we won’t see Nile again this season which is a bitter disappointment to ourselves.
“He’s overstretched his groin and he’s almost fallen off the edge of our pitch as well.
“It’s an occupational hazard and in football sometimes you get injured.
“Nile has been out for a long time and probably had more potential to get injured than a lot of our other players but that was why we didn’t just throw him in after three years of being out.
“He had been working really hard behind the scenes with us and selfishly I’m bitterly disappointed for myself, but I’m also bitterly disappointed for Nile because I know how hard he’s worked to get in a physical state to be back on that pitch again.”
Molesley continued: “This wasn’t a last gasp desperate throw of the dice from us.
“This has been a calculated move from us and he’s been working hard behind the scenes to earn the right to get a chance to even train with the group and then again to get on the pitch. That was through hard work and determination.
“Unfortunately, a slight slip has put paid to that but I’m hoping that’s not the last we see of Nile.
“If he continues to show the right attitude I’m sure he will come back even hungrier and better for the tough time he’s going through now.”