CIAN Bolger loan spell with Southend United has been cut short by the ankle injury the centre-back suffered on his debut at York City on Saturday.
The Irishman was due to spend the next month with the Shrimpers after signing from Championship club Bolton Wanderers.
But he has now been ruled out of action for up to two months, keeping him out of tomorrow's trip to bottom of the table Northampton Town.
And that has frustrated Blues boss Phil Brown who also had another loanee – right-back Luke O’Neill – injured on his debut for the club last month.
“You can certainly talk about us being unlucky as we’ve brought in two defenders and they’ve both got injured on their debuts for us,” said Brown.
“Luke was ruled out for eight to 10 weeks with the thigh injury he picked up against Chesterfield and Cian could now be out for a similar length of time with the ankle problem he suffered at York.
“It’s disappointing and a real shame because Cian did well on his debut before having to go off but we will have to battle on now.”
Brown, who also saw defender Julian Bennett suffer a cruciate ligament injury on his debut in August, is now looking back in to the loan market to see who may be available to bring in.
But, as of Monday evening the Seasiders chief had made no progress and Mark Phillips could therefore return to the starting line-up for this tomorrow's visit to Northampton.
And, despite the Cobblers’ struggles this season, Brown is expecting a very difficult night at the Sixfields Stadium.
“Northampton will certainly be up for it so we will have to match that,” said Brown.
“Since Chris Wilder has come in their results have started to pick up and they’ve won two of their last three games.
“He has men and not boys in that team and we will have to deal with the physical demands that brings.
“But we need to have the bottle and the nous to get the ball down and play if we are to end this run we’re on.”
Blues head in to the game sitting seventh in the League Two table but without a win in their last seven games.