BARNSLEY captain Jacob Butterfield is “gutted” he’s going to miss the rest of the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
Speaking exclusively to The Star, Reds skipper Butterfield admits he’s now got a “long road to recovery” ahead as he tries to return to first team action in time for the 2012-13 campaign.
“I’m going to have an operation on my left knee on Friday,” revealed Butterfield. “It’s a massive blow for me because everything was going so well this season.
“I am gutted because I’ve been enjoying my football and feel I’ve made a lot of progress.
“But you never know what’s around the corner in football, and in life, so it’s going to be a big test for me now to see how I handle being out for so long.
“I’ve just got to focus on the positives in my time off. I’m determined to come back next season fitter and stronger than ever before.”
Butterfield will have an operation at a private clinic in Sheffield in two days time and has been told he will at least have to stay in overnight.
But the talismanic midfielder, who earned his first England Under-21 international call-ups earlier this season, is hopeful that he’ll be off the treatment table and fit enough to watch the Reds clash with Swansea City in the FA Cup at Oakwell on Saturday afternoon.
He said: “Hopefully I can watch the lads on Saturday, I’d like to be there to give them my support,” added Butterfield, who has been linked with potential moves to Everton, Newcastle and Stoke City during the past month.
“I’ve spoken to all the lads and they’re gutted for me. They’ve been really supportive and given me good advice about trying to stay positive and not to get down during the tough times.
“It’s massively disappointing for me, my injury couldn’t have come at a worse time. But I’ve just get on with my rehabilitation after my operation and get back as quickly as possible.
“I had my scan immediately after the game on Sunday and then when I got the results we all knew the bad news. This is a test for me to make sure I’m strong and I can get back ready for next season.
“I’ve been pretty lucky with injuries. I’ve never had a long-term one and never missed a game through injury. I’ve missed a couple of training sessions before, but pretty much avoided injuries, luckily.
“Hopefully the operation is a success and I can focus on my rehabilitation.”
Reds’ director Don Rowing said: “It’s very unfortunate for Jacob, but we wish him a speedy recovery.”