Huddersfield Town defender Tommy Elphick is set to have surgery on a knee injury suffered in the Terriers’ 3-1 defeat to Preston North End on Saturday, the club’s manager Danny Cowley has confirmed.
Elphick was forced off just 20 minutes into the clash at Deepdale following a heavy challenge from Ryan Ledson, which earned the North End midfielder a yellow card.
It has now been announced that scans have revealed Elphick suffered ligament damage to his right knee during the challenge, meaning the centre back is now set to have surgery to establish just how long he will be out of action for.
That defeat at Preston ended a seven-game unbeaten run for Huddersfield, leaving them 19th in the Championship standings going into the November international break.
So what impact on Huddersfield could the defender’s absence have.
Here, we look at three potential knock-on effects of Elphick’s injury on the Terriers.
They lose an important member of their backline
Despite making one or two errors that brought him in for some scrutiny earlier in the campaign, it does seem as though Elphick was starting to become a key figure for the Terriers.
Having made 14 league appearances in 16 games at the start of the league season, the experienced defender was definitely someone Cowley felt he could trust, particularly with performances appearing to improve over the past weeks like of his fellow teammates.
Indeed, with Cowley also bemoaning the loss of his leadership qualities, it appears it won’t just be Elphick’s own abilities they will miss, but also the influence he has on the rest of his side’s defence, meaning this is an injury Huddersfield could well do without.
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An opportunity for Jon Gorenc Stankovic
When he came on to replace Elphick at Deepdale on Saturday, Jon Gorenc Stankovic found himself making only his third league appearance of the season for Huddersfield.
Indeed, with all three of those appearances coming from the bench, opportunities have been scarce for Stankovic so far this season.
But having coped with the task of stepping in for Elphick rather well on Saturday, the 23-year-old may now feel he is set for an extended run in the side, which gives him the chance to prove his worth to the Terriers once more.
With his contract at the John Smith’s Stadium set to expire at the end of this season, that is an opportunity that may well have come at a rather useful time for the centre back.
A new priority in the January transfer window
Even with Stankovic stepping in, Elphick’s injury does still leave Huddersfield somewhat short on centre back options.
Indeed, with Terence Kongolo operating at left-back at times this season, the absence of Elphick would leave the Terriers with only Stankovic and Christopher Schindler as recognised centre backs within their side.
As a result, if Elphick’s surgery dictates that the centre back will be on the sidelines long term, Cowley could well be tempted to dip into the market when the transfer window reopens in January, in order to avoid further problems in that area should injuries and suspensions start to take an even greater toll in that area of the pitch.