English League Two promotion hopefuls Forest Green Rovers have confirmed Jamaican Jamille Matt, their leading scorer, has been ruled out for the season after suffering a serious hand injury over the weekend.
The Gloucestershire outfit’s head coach, Mark Cooper, on Monday described 31-year-old Matt’s chances of returning for the remaining nine league matches of the campaign as “none, zero”.
Jamille Matt, with 16 goals under his belt this term, was stretchered off early in Saturday’s home game against Bolton Wanderers – which the visitors won 1-0 – after suffering the horrific injury and needing surgery to his right hand following a collision with Welsh defender Michael Williams.
“Gutted about the injury and not being able to help the boys out on the pitch,” Matt said in an Instagram post from his bed at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, where he was taken for treatment, adding: “A massive thank-you for all the messages. It really means a lot.”
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In spite of the fact that Matt’s absence will leave a big hole in his team, who have dropped out of the top three automatic promotion places for the first time since January, the Forest Green boss is expecting others to step up and help fill his boots.
“We’ll have to find a different way without big Jamma (Matt). We wish him well and we’ll rally round him and he’ll be alright,” said Cooper.
“Maybe now some of the boys that haven’t played as much, maybe now is the time for them to get an opportunity and give us that little bit of impetus and energy going into the last nine games.”
Despite the loss and devastating injury Matt sustained, Cooper remained defiant after Saturday’s match at the New Lawn as he felt his side deserved more from the game.
He said: “We didn’t deserve to lose the game, no way.
“I thought we did fine, had some good chances, I thought we had the best chances and we should have won the game.
“Sometimes football is cruel and it’s been cruel today but hopefully we’re on the right side of it next week.”
Forest Green travel to Bradford City on Good Friday and then home to Salford City on Easter Monday.