SOUTHEND United midfielder Lewis Gard has been ruled out for the rest of the season with another cruciate ligament injury.

The 21-year-old spent 16 months on the sidelines with a knee injury before returning to action in February.

But Gard has now injured his other knee, much to the disappointment of Blues boss Mark Molesley.

"It’s a real sad one and a real tough one to take for him and for us as a football club too," said Molesley.

"He’s seen a surgeon and he’s booked in for surgery in the coming weeks unfortunately.

"It’s a cruciate injury and he won’t see the rest of the season."

Gard suffered the injury during the Shrimpers' 3-0 defeat to Portsmouth in the EFL Trophy at the start of October.

But Molesley is certain Gard will again work his way back to full fitness.

"It’s so tough but he did so well to come back from his previous one and he will be back on a football pitch again I'm sure," said Molesley.

"He will come back stronger too.

"Lewis is one of our own, he’s come up through the system and we need to do the best we can to support him.

"It’s so unfortunate, we’re desperately sorry and gutted for him.

"But he’s come back from a lot worse before and he will come back from this one too."