Birmingham boss Lee Bowyer has admitted his side need to recruit in January following an injury sustained by star player Tahith Chong.
On-loan ace Chong has been forced to return to parent club Manchester United after picking up a groin injury in training last week. The Dutchman is out of action for 16 weeks, but will return to Birmingham once he has recovered. However, for now Bowyer has admitted his squad is running short of players.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “We’re going to need bodies in January.
“I feel so sorry for Tahith Chong because his injury is so hard to explain. It’s crazy. There was no one near him when it happened. It was a five-yard pass from off the pitch playing it back on and he damaged his groin area.
“It’s a massive loss, but he’ll come back stronger from this. He should, unless he has any setback, make the last few games.
“We’ll not turn our backs on him and say that’s it. He’s been great for us, he’s played a big part. He’s played every minute, near enough.”
Chong has made thirteen appearances already this season for Blues, and has been highlighted as a key player throughout.
Following the announcement of his injury, Chong took to social media to thank fans for their support this season.
On Instagram he wrote: “I have picked up an injury and will be out for a while. I would like to thank everyone at Birmingham City Football Club for everything they have done for me past couple of months.
“The players, staff and everyone involved has made me feel very (welcome) from day one.
“A special mention to the fans that from day one has supported me in a way that has helped me massively.”
The youngster has returned to Manchester for rehabilitation, and is unlikely to be match-fit until at least February.
Blues face losing another loanee star
Bowyer has also admitted loanee Riley McGree is unlikely to remain with Birmingham beyond his loan expiration in January.
After failing to feature in any of Birmingham’s first nine games, McGree has recently fit form with two goals in his last three outings.
The Australian has helped the Blues secure three consecutive wins following a seven-game winless streak.
However, Bowyer has said the midfielder is still likely to return to parent club Charlotte FC in January.
Indeed, the Blues boss is preparing to say goodbye when answering a question on his future.
“No. I don’t think so. Not that I am told. Apparently, he is going back.
“Riley’s going back, Chong’s out injured for a while, we are losing players left, right and centre at the minute.
“That will be a blow, there’s lots of blows at the minute, we are running out of players. We are going to need some help in January.”