ON LOAN Southend United midfielder James Olayinka has been ruled out for four to six weeks with an ankle injury.

The 20-year-old, who is with the Shrimpers from Arsenal, picked up the problem during the 0-0 draw at Grimsby Town earlier this month.

And Blues boss Mark Molesley has now confirmed Olayinka will not be back in action for at least a month. 

"James has grade two ligament damage on his ankle and the healing time for that is four to six weeks," said Molesley.

"We’re hoping it’s the shortest possible time and it’s a month out but it could be up to six weeks.

"That’s a disappointing one and we can ill afford to lose players.

"We saw how brutal it can be with injuries earlier on in the season and we don’t want to be caught with that number missing again.

"We’ve got to try and protect people the best we can but with lots of games coming it’s difficult to do that."

Olayinka's loan spell from the Gunners was due to expire this week.

But Molesley will still be looking to keep the midfielder at the club.

"There’s ways around it and hopefully we will look to keep him around," said Molesley.

"We can try to exercise to keep him and then when he’s back fit he would already be registered.

"It’s certainly something for the two clubs to have a discussion about.

"James had some really good moments and I’m sure he’s keen to build on them, as we are as well."

Olayinka has scored three goals in 16 games for Blues this season.