Impressive young defender Ben Warland will miss the rest of the Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season due to a serious knee injury in a cruel blow to Sydney FC's title hopes.
Scans on Tuesday revealed the 22-year-old has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee after a challenge in Sunday's loss to Melbourne City.
Warland missed the majority of the start of the campaign after breaking a bone in his foot in the pre-season but returned to become a regular starter in Steve Corica's side.
But this latest injury is a huge setback to the Adelaide-born centre-back and the Sky Blues as they fight for silverware in both the Hyundai A-League and AFC Champions League.
“It’s disappointing for Ben. He’s been doing extremely well at centre-half but he is a quality professional, he has great strength and character and I know he will come back even stronger," Corica said on Sydney FC's official website.
“We have a fantastic medical department at Sydney FC, who will guide Ben through the process as they have with others before.”
Warland is the third Sky Blues player to have suffered a long-term knee injury this season.
Both Chris Zuvela and Trent Buhagiar have succumbed to freak knee injuries in accidental clashes during the early part of the campaign.
Both marquee man Siem de Jong and young playmaker Danny De Silva have spent time on the sidelines, seriously testing Sydney FC's depth.
“It’s incredible the amount of contact injuries we have had this season, but all credit to the boys and our medical staff who have got on with the job brilliantly,” Corica said.
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“It shows the depth of talent we have in the squad to still be second on the ladder at this stage.
“We expect Danny and Siem back for the Brisbane game while Jop van der Linden, Aaron Calver and Jacob Tratt are fantastic replacements for Ben.”
The Sky Blues aren't in action this weekend due to the FIFA international break, returning on Friday, March 29 for a clash against the Roar in Brisbane.