DANNY Wilson has backed Hartlepool striker James Brown to come back stronger after the highly-rated youngster suffered the second major knee injury of his career.
The Cramlington-born 21-year-old has been ruled out for the season after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers. He is due for reconstructive surgery next month.
The knee is not the one Brown had a similar problem with following a pre-season friendly with Hibernian in 2005 and manager Wilson believes that experience will be invaluable.
“It was a shock to everybody, none more so than the kid himself,” Wilson said of the news. “I think he knew it was serious the minute he did it but it was still terrible news for him.
“But he’s got the character and determination to come back. He’s had it before.
“He will get great support from the other players.”
The news is a big blow to the League One club because of the excellent start Brown made to the campaign.
Often playing on the right of a three-pronged attack, he has eight goals already, attracting interest from the likes of Celtic, West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City.
But Wilson allowed the deadline for Football League loans to pass yesterday without signing a replacement, and he can not now sign anyone until the New Year.
“He’s had a terrific season and was just getting into the swing of things,” Wilson added. “A season and a half isn’t a long time in football to get back (from his previous injury).
“If anyone will benefit it will be the opposition. He’s got an eye for goal and terrific balance. It’s true to say we don’t have another player like him but other players have different attributes and it’s down to them to step up.”
Fellow striker Joel Porter has had similar knee problems, so knows what Brown can expect.
“He has been getting lots of games under his belt and this is not good for the team,” said the Australian international. “It is going to be hard to replace him.
“You just have to keep positive and be around the lads as much as you can – make sure you keep him in with the craic and keep smiling.”