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Ups and downs are expected for every single member of this season’s Arsenal loan army and bad news for one has been confirmed.
Central defender Alex Kirk, described as a ‘shining light, for Scottish Championship side Ayr United who have a one-point lead at the top of the table, was unfortunately stretchered off in the closing moments of the 2-2 draw against Inverness on Saturday afternoon with a suspected fracture of his ankle.
That proved to be a cruel end to the 20-year-old’s outing as he had claimed an assist – his second in as many weeks – for Dipo Akinyemi’s goal in the 82nd minute which looked to have sealed victory for the visitors only for the hosts to equalise five minutes later.
And the youngster’s mood will have hardly improved upon hearing that he’s facing up to three months on the sidelines. This has been confirmed by Ayr manager Lee Bullen who is hopeful of having the defender available for selection after he’s completed treatment and rehab with Arsenal.
“It’s a sore one as Alex has had a real impact and settled into the group fantastically well,” he told the Ayrshire Post. “The injury looked so innocuous at the time as he just fell to the turf when the ball came in. He’ll be properly assessed down the road and we’re hopeful he’ll be back playing in two to three months.”
If the best-case scenario is Kirk is able to resume playing in three months then he’s looking at the end of February for a return to action. With that said, as things currently stand, he looks set to miss at least 10 games across all competitions as this layoff disrupts his progress.
Unlike with Nicolas Pepe, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Folarin Balogun, Pablo Mari, Charlie Patino and even Miguel Azeez among others, some Arsenal fans, perhaps, might not be too familiar with Kirk but he’s impressed for Ayr this season, helping them record the joint-fifth best defensive across the entire division as well as weighing in with two goals at the other end.
With that said, he does become the second member of the Gunners’ loan army to suffer a major injury this month with Tyreece John-Jules – spending the campaign with League One side Ipswich Town – also facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a serious hamstring injury:
“Tyreece has a hamstring injury and is under specialist review at the moment as to whether it needs surgical repair,” manager Kieran McKenna revealed. “It’s quite a major tear which is also very disappointing.”