Ashington have been left reeling after Dylan Williamson was ruled out for the rest of the season.
The 25-year-old was carried off in the Colliers’ recent Ebac Northern League first division match against Durham at Consett’s Belle View Stadium with suspected knee ligament damage.
On Saturday, a fortnight after sustaining the injury, williamson, who can play either wide or as a striker, revealed that the swelling had not fully subsided.
A frustrated Williamson said: “Initially I was on crutches for ten days.
“It’s still sore and tender to touch, but it is definitely improving as I can put pressure on it, but I’ve resigned myself to not playing again this season.
“I need a scan, but although my knee is not as bad as it was, it is still swollen.
“If it is a tear then the injury should heal itself but if it has come off the bone, then I reckon I will need an operation.
“I haven’t got going at all in what has been a disastrous season for myself, and consequently I’m totally gutted and frustrated.
“I had a good run of games before being out for three to four months with a torn thigh, then after I returned to play three games, this has happened.”
Colliers boss Steve Harmison said the management staff and players are devastated for Williamson.
“After our game at Bedlington was called off on Saturday, I called in to see Dylan and it’s gutting,” said Harmison.
“He has been to see Kev Bell, the former physiotherapist at Newcastle United, and needs a scan to define the diagnosis, but at the moment his knee is still swollen.
“In the dugout at Consett, we felt like crying for him because he worked so hard to get himself fit after the thigh injury.
“He came back eager but his thigh went again. The rain, which resulted in an eight-week break, helped him, like it helped James Harmison, to get fit without any pressure on coming back to play.
“Dylan was quiet in his first game and when I took him off, he apologised and said he was poor, which I thought was a good sign but because of the age he is at, he probably doesn’t understand the bigger picture.
“So that determination to get better undoubtedly went into the second game when he scored a hat-trick, and at Durham I thought he was our best player before he went off.
“To see him lying injured was heartbreaking.
“This club needs to be built around the likes of Dylan and the young lads from this area within a five miles radius.
“They have got to perform but there are some good young players in this group.
“Hopefully we will get him on the right rehabilitation road and have him back for next season, but I’ll be very surprised if we see him return this term.
“Until he has a scan we’ll not know the proper diagnosis, but I fear that he could be out for even longer than the season if it is torn off the bone.
“Even if Dylan was going to be fit for the last two or three weeks of the season, I would be reluctant to use him.
“His talent is undoubted and we are going to miss that, and we have got to replace him in a way whereby we are not putting pressure on him to come back too early.
“As a management and team group we are heartily sorry for him and will always have him involved because he is such a good lad.”
Only a couple of weeks ago, utility player Scott Blandford was ruled out for the remainder of the campaign after revealing that he faces surgery during the summer on a problematic knee injury.
On Saturday, February 20, Ashington are away to resurgent West Auckland at 3pm, then the Colliers host Washington on Tuesday, February 23.