Goalkeeper Thorsten Stuckmann is confident Preston North End’s squad can deal with the loss of star striker Joe Garner.
PNE’s leading goalscorer was ruled out for up to four months earlier this week after suffering a serious knee injury in Saturday’s 1-0 win at Bristol City.
Despite being withdrawn from the action at half-time, it was first thought that Garner’s problem was not too severe.
However, he underwent scans on Monday and the subsequent diagnosis was devastating news for the 26-year-old.
Garner could be out for up to four months and underwent surgery yesterday after scans revealed the tendon had come away from the bone.
Stuckmann admits Garner – who he labelled as the best striker he has ever played with – will be a huge miss for the team over the coming months.
But he believes the squad is strong enough to deal with the loss of the 12-goal striker, especially if the club are able to bring in reinforcements before the loan window closes at 5pm today.
Stuckmann said: “We feel so sorry for Joe and I wish him all the best.
“We need him but it’s more important that he gets back fit and gets his career back on track.
“He is such a good player. I’ve never played with a striker who has his quality before and we just wish him all the best.
“Hopefully, he comes back quickly and he will be able to help us out at the end of the season.
“But I think we have such a good squad that we can keep it going. We have got players with other qualities.”
North End managed to progress through to the northern area semi-final of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on Tuesday night in the absence of Garner.
After drawing 2-2 with Oldham Athletic over 90 minutes at Boundary Park, the game went to a penalty shootout.
With the scores level at 9-9, it was Stuckmann who stepped forward to score the winning spot-kick in sudden death.
The fact that it was the big German who scored the winner is quite ironic.
Since arriving at Deepdale, he has forged a reputation for saving penalties in shootouts – particularly in the JP Trophy!
Stuckmann admits he cannot remember a time when he has ever taken a penalty and was mightily relieved to see the one on Tuesday night hit the back of the net.
“I don’t think I have ever taken one in a competitive game before,” he said.
“After their goalkeeper had missed, I was quite relaxed and not nervous
“I just thought, ‘Okay, let’s put it in...then I won’t have to save another one.”