Melchiot's ligament injury deepens blues for Bruce

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The Independent Football

With Stephen Clemence sidelined for around three weeks with a calf problem and David Dunn vowing not to rush back into regular first-team action until he is 100 per cent fit after back surgery, it gives the club's manager Steve Bruce a fresh headache after his team have slipped into the bottom three in the Premiership.

Melchiot had been struggling for some time with his knee and missed Sunday's 1-0 home derby defeat by Aston Villa. He said: "There is a problem with my knee and it's ligament damage. Hopefully, it's not that serious and won't keep me out for more than two or three weeks. It is difficult to tell. It could be longer."

The Blues' midfield injury jinx continued when Clemence suffered his calf injury during the first half of Sunday's game. It is a big blow for Clemence, who on Friday signed a new three-year contract.

He said: "I tweaked my calf and with a bit of luck I will be back in two to three weeks, but this injury has come at a disappointing time. I'd already had a hamstring problem which had kept me out for a month and, having got back in the team, I wanted to keep my place."

Bruce said: "Whenever we get an injury crisis, it always seems to be in one position. Once everyone who played left-back was injured and now we have problems in the centre.

"I have never known injury problems like we have had in the past 15 months and I've not been able to field my first-choice team in that time."

Dunn impressed as a substitute in the final 20 minutes of Sunday's derby, despite having only 45 minutes of reserve team football under his belt.

Granted the benefit of another appearance for the reserves last night, against Newcastle at St Andrew's, he hopes to play some part against his former club Blackburn at Ewood Park this weekend.

He said: "I've got a reserve game again and I will play in the reserves until I feel really up to it. There is only so much training and running you can do. The more games I get under my belt, the better I'll be."