Luckless ex-Portsmouth man ruled out for the season as wretched injury agony continues
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Luckless Ben Close has been ruled out for the remainder of the season following yet another awful set-back.
The former Pompey midfielder and ex-Priory School pupil has suffered an injury-ravaged three years at Doncaster Rovers since joining in June 2021.
And with his contract up in the summer, he could well have played his last match for the League Two strugglers.
Close suffered a serious knee injury at Bradford City in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy a fortnight ago.
Rovers’ worst fears were confirmed at the weekend, with the 27-year-old to undergo knee surgery, sidelining him for the rest of the campaign.
It’s yet another injury blow for Close, who early in his Keepmoat Stadium career was out for 298 days with a knee problem, while then missed four-and-a-half months last year with a hamstring issue.
In total, he has featured 82 times and scored six goals during his three years at Doncaster - in addition to suffering relegation and having five managers.
Doncaster boss Grant McCann told the Doncaster Free Press: ‘We've had disappointing news with Ben. We knew it could be either three or four weeks or three or four months - it's the latter unfortunately.
‘We certainly won't see him again this season. We feel like we've got midfielders here that are capable. We brought Matty Craig in because we thought he's a similar type to Closey and Zain (Westbrooke) and I thought he was excellent today (Saturday).’
Pompey fan Close came through the Fratton Park ranks to make his first-team debut aged 18 years and 24 days in September 2014 at Yeovil in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
He went on to total 190 appearances, scoring 18 times, including starting the 2019 Checkatrade Trophy win over Sunderland and featuring as a substitute in the 2021 Wembley defeat to Salford.
However, despite starting 10 of Cowley’s 12 matches in charge as interim head coach, he was released in the summer of 2021 upon the expiry of his contract.
Close opted to move to League One Doncaster, enduring relegation in his first season, while then finished a disappointing 18th in League Two last term.
He had made 27 appearances this term, scoring four times, before a season-ending injury at Bradford, with Rovers currently 20th.