Millar injury a huge blow for Sky Blues: Jeffrey
Ballymena United boss David Jeffrey yesterday admitted he was 'devastated' that influential Leroy Millar will be missing possibly until the New Year.
The 24-year-old sustained a foot injury in Tuesday night's 2-1 extra-time BetMcLean League Cup defeat by Crusaders at the Warden Street Showgrounds.
Millar hobbled off midway through the second half and, although Jeffrey feared the worst, it wasn't until he received medical confirmation yesterday that his star man had suffered a metatarsal fracture in his foot.
It was a double whammy for Jeffrey, who was hoping to lead his team to their fourth successive League Cup final.
Even though the Sky Blues were dumped out by a last gasp winner - in the 119th minute - by Crusaders new boy Jarlath O'Rourke, he was delighted with his team's effort and commitment.
Jamie McGonigle shot the Crues into the lead with a first half stunner, but Andy McGrory levelled things up early in the second half, converting from the penalty spot after Rory Hale had shamefully pushed a Jonny Addis header over the top - it earned the former Derry City man a red card.
United also finished up with only 10 men after having striker Adam Lecky - making his first start since August - dismissed following a scuffle with Philip Lowry, which resulted in a mass brawl.
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But it was Millar's injury that caused Jeffrey most concern.
"A foot came down on top of him," he said.
"I was hoping against hope, but the doctor mentioned metatarsal in his first diagnosis after the game.
"To receive confirmation of Leroy's injury this morning is not only terrible news for the player, but also for the club because he is a giant of a player for us.
"We are all gutted for Leroy and will make sure that all efforts will be made to ensure a swift and robust rehabilitation programme to get him back to full fitness."
Millar's injury just piles on the agony for Jeffrey, who also lost midfielder Ryan Harpur with a groin injury.
"Ryan tweaked a groin and on top of that, Cathair Friel has a rib problem.
"That's why we had to take him out of the picture on Tuesday night.
"He was missing for four weeks.
"We gave him a half against Linfield and a full 90 against Glentoran.
"But he was in great pain throughout the game."