Shola injury blow

Last updated : 21 December 2003 By Martyn Elliott

The 22-year-old was forced out of the action after a clash with Addicks defender Hermann Hreidarsson, although Sir Bobby is convinced the Icelander’s elbow was unintentional.

"It looked like an elbow but an accidental one to me," said the boss. "Both players went up for the ball and these things happen.

"But if it is a fracture of the cheekbone, it is a big blow to us."

With Craig Bellamy also out injured and Lomana LuaLua due to head off to the African Cup of Nations early in the New Year, the injury couldn’t have been worse timed.

However, with Shola way below his best in recent weeks it may prove to be a timely opportunity for Michael Chopra or Carl Cort, providing he doesn’t get injured again before Boxing Day.

It isn’t always easy to predict Sir Bobby’s team selection - although you don’t have to be too smart to name half the starting line-up if they are fit - but pushing Kieron Dyer up front to allow Nobby Solano to play in his favoured right wing position would seem to be the most likely move.

There is, of course, always a chance that Shola may get a Gazza-style superhero mask to allow him to play on.