Blackpool striker Clarke may miss season

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The Independent Football

Striker Billy Clarke could miss the whole of Blackpool's first Barclays Premier League campaign with a serious knee injury.

The 22-year-old has been ruled out until April at the earliest after rupturing a cruciate ligament during pre-season.

Clarke was injured just two minutes into Blackpool's first summer friendly against Tiverton Town on July 16 and it was initially thought he would be out for three months.

However, the problem is worst than first feared and the player has now undergone surgery.

Manager Ian Holloway said: "It might be the whole season now.

"He was looking so sharp in training and had done so much in the summer to try and get over the knocks he had last year.

"We're all gutted for him, absolutely gutted for him."

In a further blow for the Seasiders, forward Louis Almond has been ruled out for up to three months with a dislocated shoulder.

Almond, 18, who had a spell on loan at Cheltenham last season, is also to have an operation after suffering the injury against Leyton Orient in Saturday's pre-season clash in Devon.

The injuries further reduce Holloway's options in a threadbare squad.

Holloway is yet to sign a player this summer while four key men from last season's Championship play-off success are no longer at Bloomfield Road.

Seamus Coleman, DJ Campbell and Stephen Dobbie have all returned to their parent clubs after loans while Ben Burgess has moved to Notts County.

Former Everton and Arsenal striker Francis Jeffers has been on trial with the Tangerines while Holloway is thought to be closing in on a deal for Israel defender Dekel Keinan.

Midfielder Charlie Adam admitted the double injury blow was bad news for the club.

The Scotland international said: "We had a lot of games in Devon and that's been the hardest part of the week.

"For Louis it is tough, he is a young boy. Billy is an older player but he is still young.

"It will be hard but the lads will get through it and hopefully they will come through it ready.

"They'll be there cheering the lads on and hopefully we can get the right results for them."