SOUTHEND United left-back Ben Coker has spoken of his anguish after being forced onto the sidelines with a serious knee injury.

Coker will be out of action for more than a year with the injury he sustained during the Shrimpers’ defeat at Sunderland a fortnight ago.

And the 29-year-old initially found the setback - which saw him tear anterior and lateral cruciate ligaments - tough to take.

“I did a lot of crying and then I had a scan to see what it was,” said Coker.

“He told me it would take a bit longer than an ACL and that I was looking at 12 and a bit months.

“I cried more after that and having to tell everyone about it was the hardest bit because when I was in there with him it was all a bit of a blur.

“But, after a couple of days, I sat down with the missus and spoke about everything and how I’m going to get through it.

“I know I will have some really bad days and some really long days too but there will be more good days than bad days.

“I’ll take it one day at a time and go from there.

“It’s the start of a long journey but hopefully it will be a successful one.”

Coker - who will have an operation on his knee next Monday - sustained the injury while trying to bring a long ball under control at the Stadium of Light.

And the left-back immediately knew he was in trouble.

“I put my foot down and the turf went away from me,” said Coker.

“There was a big divot in the ground and I heard a massive snap when my leg came back to me.

“It was a horrific feeling and it was all a massive blur from then on.

“The physio came on, the stretcher came on and I had gas and air.

“I was panicking because we had had three other serious knee injuries already this season but I knew at that moment it was going to be bad.”

And Coker also found the journey home difficult after the game.

“In my head I was panicking and it was a long journey home from Sunderland back to Billericay,” said the defender.

“It was horrific.

“I was thinking ‘I’ve got six months on my deal left, what am I going to do?’

“I’m going to be without a club and my knee is going to be knackered.

“I got home, saw the missus and cried again but everyone has been great towards me.”

>Coker will be detailing his comeback from injury on YouTube. Search ‘Ben Coker - My Journey - ACL & LCL Injury’