Belfast Telegraph

Baggies rocked by Brunt injury blow

By Graham Luney

West Brom captain Chris Brunt may have to sit out the next six weeks after sustaining a painful knee injury.

The Northern Ireland international has suffered medial ligament damage and will now be forced to miss crucial games for the Baggies.

The 29-year-old Belfast man was substituted after 65 minutes of Saturday's 3-0 loss at home to Manchester United after a nasty collision with Wayne Rooney.

Brunt will now miss a crucial period in the club's fight for Premier League survival.

Pepe Mel's side currently sit in 17th place and their run of upcoming fixtures include matches against Swansea City, Hull City, Cardiff City and Norwich City.

Defender Diego Lugano, 33, will also miss three to four weeks with medial ligament damage suffered on international duty with Uruguay.

The Baggies are yet to win under Mel, who replaced Steve Clarke as manager in January.

Brunt's absence adds to the Baggies' injury woes with Claudio Yacob (hamstring) and Steven Reid (knee) doubts for the trip to face Swansea at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill will want Brunt to be fit and raring to go for his side's friendlies against Uruguay in Montevideo on May 30 and Chile in Valparaiso on June 4.

* Former Northern Ireland goalkeeper Maik Taylor has spoken of his dismay at the storm engulfing Fulham.

Taylor, who served the Cottagers from 1997 to 2004, looked on as Rene Meulensteen was replaced as manager by former Bayern Munich coach Felix Magath.

Magath signed an 18-month contract but the team are rooted to the bottom of the table.

Coaches Ray Wilkins and Alan Curbishley have also left the club and Northern Ireland goalkeeping coach Taylor, who made 189 appearances for the west London side, said: "It's not just Fulham, it seems to be a trend across the board.

"Managers are given so little time now and it just beggars belief that they can change a manager and all his backroom staff and bring someone else in without doing their homework because two or three months down the line they are off as well," he commented.

"It's always going to take time and I firmly believe that continuity is the way forward.

"Clubs need to decide who they want to take charge and really give them time.

"Fulham is a fantastic football club and I hope they can find some stability," added the Windsor Park favourite.

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