Eddie Patterson last night described the news that Vincent Sweeney will miss the entire season as a 'massive blow.'
A scan on the striker's knee revealed major damage, with a cruciate ligament tear as well as cartilage problems and a strained medial ligament.
Now after missing the start of the campaign because of the injury, Sweeney knows it will be next season before he is back in a Cliftonville shirt again.
"Vincent Sweeney had an immediate impact when he signed for us in January and I was looking forward to him continuing that," said Patterson.
"He is a pacey lad, the crowd took to him straight away and I was expecting big things from him, but after trying to build the squad we have now been hit with a massive blow by losing Vincent for the season.
"I called him when we got the scan results and to say that he is gutted would be an understatement.
"It is something that he has to come to terms with though. He knows it will be nine months before he can play again and that there will be a lot of hard work along the way."
Sweeney's goals at the end of last season helped the Reds clinch a place in the Intertoto Cup and they are also looking forward to Setanta Sports Cup action at Solitude in the New Year.
"Vincent will now miss out on what he came to the club for," said Patterson.
"We aren't just building for one season though and hopefully he will have the incentive of Setanta Cup football again next season as well."