Hutchison out until Christmas

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The Independent Football

West Ham have been dealt a severe blow with the news that Don Hutchison could be out until Christmas. The 30-year-old midfielder was carried off with a knee injury during Saturday's 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough, and a scan yesterday revealed he had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament.

"It's a bad injury and one which could rule him out for 10 months," the Hammers' manager Glenn Roeder said. "This is devastating for Don."

West Ham have also lost their club captain Steve Lomas for up to a month as he injured knee ligaments against Boro. With Michael Carrick still three weeks away from playing, the Hammers are now short in midfield. Roeder, who has been linked with a summer move for the Leicester midfielder Muzzy Izzett, has no money to spend at present so he will aim to bring in a player on loan instead to strengthen his squad.

The Scottish Football Association expressed its concern for Hutchison as the new Scotland manager Berti Vogts is forced to prepare for the Euro 2004 qualifiers without the key midfielder.

"I am sure Berti will be very disappointed to lose one of the key players like Don with such an injury," an SFA spokesman said. "Although Berti has yet to make any decision on who will be in his first squad for the game against France, I guess Don Hutchison is way up his list."

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