O’Brien out for season as Barnsley wait on defenders

Barnsley manager Danny Wilson.
Barnsley manager Danny Wilson.
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BARNSLEY manager Danny Wilson is crossing his fingers that the injury prognosis regarding central defensive lynchpins Martin Cranie and Peter Ramage is not a bad one.

The key duo, regulars under Wilson, came off with hamstring injuries in Tuesday’s 3-0 defeat to champions-elect Leicester City at Oakwell, with the Reds ending the game with Jean-Yves M’Voto and Lewin Nyatanga in the middle of the back four.

It was M’Voto’s first appearance since January 4, while Nyatanga has featured just four times so far in his injury-hit second spell at Barnsley after rejoining last summer.

In a separate injury development, midfielder Jim O’Brien will be sidelined for the rest of the season with a knee problem, which will require surgery, Wilson confirmed.

The Reds chief, awaiting reports regarding Cranie and Ramage, said: “With the strength of the squad we have, to lose two centre-halves is a bit of a blow to us.

“Really, it’s a massive blow to us. Not just with Tuesday’s game, but the coming games, that is the problem we have.

“We will also miss Jim for the rest of the season by the looks of it with a cartilage injury, which is also a big blow.”

Despite seeing his side being comprehensively outclassed by Leicester, Wilson kept things in perspective after the game and insists Reds fans shouldn’t be too downhearted.

He added: “If we were all honest, before the last two games, I don’t think anybody would have given us a cat in hell’s chance of getting any points in the two games and we’ve ended up with three points.

“We can’t be too disappointed. Leicester are a Premier League team in waiting and gave us a bit of a lesson. But they have done that to some of the top teams in and around them and expected to be pushing for the Premier League and they are a country mile in front of them at the moment.”

Wilson’s former Sheffield Wednesday team-mate, Foxes boss Nigel Pearson had a quick chat with celebrity Reds fan Dickie Bird following the final whistle and he revealed that the new Yorkshire president passed on his congratulations at his side’s fine display.

He said: “I know Dickie very well and he’s always had a lot of time for me and I’ve a lot of time for him; he’s a cracking chap.

“He said he enjoyed watching us play. You know what Dickie is like, he says what he thinks. He doesn’t dress it up.”