LEE CLARK says Anthony Pilkington will get the best possible treatment and support as he recovers from the season-ending injury which marred Town’s derby win over Rochdale.
The 22-year-old star, who has been a key player in the push for promotion from League I, last night underwent surgery on a dislocated left ankle and broken fibula above the joint.
He used his Twitter account to keep fans up to date on the procedure (see below).
The procedure was carried out by Manchester-based Ashok Paul, who has previously operated on Premier League players Alan Smith and Antonio Valencia.
Pilkington was initially taken to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, where his ankle was reset, and Clark said: “He’s been well looked after and is in good spirits.
“The messages from our supporters have been a big lift for him, and this club looks after its injured players very well, so he will get all the help he needs.”
Clark, who is also waiting for the result of a scan on Antony Kay’s left ankle injury picked up in Tuesday’s game, had experience of long-term absence through injury as a player.
“Recovery is a mental as well as physical thing, and it’s important to keep looking forward to that time when you return, hopefully stronger than ever,” he added.
“Anthony is a strong character, and he’ll deal with this with the help of his family, his teammates, the club and the supporters.
“At this stage we can’t put a timescale on the process – he could be back at the start of next season, but if it takes longer, it takes longer.
“There will no pressure on him. As with all injuries, it’s important to ensure the recovery is complete, and that’s what we’ll do.”
Clark, who cancelled yesterday’s behind-closed-doors match at Manchester City, has already ruled versatile Kay out of Saturday’s trip to Bristol Rovers.
But he is hopeful both Jordan Rhodes, who took a kick during the Rochdale clash, and Joey Gudjonsson (hamstring) will be available. Danny Cadamarteri returned from his back injury as a substitute on Tuesday, and has shown no adverse reaction.
But keeper Ian Bennett has a groin problem – Alex Smithies made an impressive return against Rochdale – while Lee Peltier has three more matches of his suspension to serve.
And with Gary Naysmith not yet over his calf injury and Liam Ridehalgh in need of match practice after glandular fever, Clark could dip into the loan market.
“We’re down on numbers at the moment, and we haven’t ruled anything out, but it would have to be the right player,” said the manager.