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Ex-Rangers striker Little suffers fractured skull and eye socket in training

By Adrian Rutherford

A Northern Ireland footballer who suffered a fractured skull and eye socket after a training ground accident is recovering, his family say.

Ex-Rangers striker Andy Little was injured on Tuesday evening while training with Scottish League Two side Stirling Albion.

The club said the 27-year-old, whose career has been disrupted by injuries, was involved in an accidental clash of heads with a team-mate.

Little, from Enniskillen, was rushed to Forth Valley Royal Hospital before being transferred to a hospital in Edinburgh.

Stirling Albion said he is now "comfortable and stable in hospital and out of danger".

His brother Graham - a well-known sports broadcaster - told the Belfast Telegraph that he has been able to speak to his parents.

"He spoke to my mum on the phone, so hopefully he is starting to come round a bit," he said.

"It is just an awful time for him - he just has no luck at all.

"This is the second time he has had a bad head injury. He broke his jaw a few years ago when he was at Rangers."

Family members are planning to travel to Scotland.

Little, who has been capped nine times by Northern Ireland, started his career at Rangers before moving to Preston North End in 2014.

He has suffered a series of injuries, including a hamstring problem on his first Rangers start against Celtic in 2009.

He missed much of the 2013-14 season after breaking his cheekbone and jaw during a match.

Graham added: "Mum and dad are probably getting used to it by now.

"It hasn't been a career that has run entirely smoothly.

"Andy has had some brilliant ups as well as some unfortunate downs.

"Anything related to the head is obviously more of a concern.

"It's very difficult for him to continue to receive these knocks.

"All he wants to do is try and become a professional footballer, but it's very difficult. He's trying to stay upbeat about it."

On the latest injury, Graham added: "It's just a completely unfortunate clash of heads. These sort of things seem to happen to him more than other people."

Graham said his parents had been kept fully up to date.

"They were reassured by people at the club late last night and we're obviously very grateful for the brilliant support he has received from them," he added.

"One of his team-mates was with him at the worst moment and was back there this morning, so he's had great support."

Stirling Albion chairman Stuart Brown said: "I have been updated by the club medical staff that whilst this was a serious and scary incident, and Andy's injuries are substantial, he is now comfortable and stable in hospital and out of danger.

"His injuries are a fractured skull and eye socket and clearly he faces a long journey to recovery."

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