Ebbsfleet manager Steve Brown says he is devastated for Michael West after it was revealed the winger will miss the rest of the season having torn his anterior cruciate ligament.

West only recently re-signed for Ebbsfleet in January after an 18-month spell at Crewe Alexandra, but limped off during the 1-1 draw with Whitehawk on March 15 with a scan later revealed the extent of the injury.

The winger was inspirational in the Fleet’s promotion to the Conference in the 2010-11 season and it appeared he was slowly returning to that sort of form, leaving Brown saddened by the setback.

He said: “I’m devastated for Westy. I’ve signed Michael after he’s just come off the back of an unenjoyable time at Crewe, where it didn’t go how he wanted it to go, and we were in the midst of turning that around.

“I thought he was excellent at Tonbridge, where he was playing with a smile on his face and working hard for the team with a 9/10 performance.

“Then four days later, for him to rupture his cartilage down at Whitehawk is a bitter pill to swallow, not just for the football club but for Michael especially.

“What we will do as a football club is make sure he gets the best surgery, the best available surgeon and the best rehabilitation so that he comes back fitter, stronger and a better player.”

However, Brown stated he will dip into the transfer market for a replacement only if the right player is available.

Brown said: “Whenever there’s an injury, or a slump in form, people from the outside naturally suggest we need more players.

“I trust the squad I’ve put together, but I always look to strengthen, which will never change whether we win, lose or draw, or whether we’ve one injury or five.

“I always look for players who will strengthen our squad and I’ve always said football squads evolve in the season as well as during the off-season.

“I don’t feel it’s something I need to rush out and do, but if there’s someone out there who gets presented to me, or who I feel is not getting a game in a squad somewhere else that could improve us between now and the end of the season, then I’ll do it.

“There’s certainly no panic, as I’ve got a couple of players who missed Boreham Wood through injury that will be available in the week, and our squad is still relatively healthy.”

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