Darren Fletcher has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery in his ongoing battle against an ulcerative colitis condition.
It comes as a huge blow to Fletcher who had fought his way back into the squad after being kept out for the majority of last year with the same condition.
An official statement from the club read: “Darren Fletcher will be unavailable for the remainder of this season having undergone surgery to resolve his ulcerative colitis condition.
“We wish to stress this was a planned procedure undertaken at the optimal time having achieved a period of sustained good general health, as illustrated by the fact that Darren has trained with the team regularly this season and been available for selection right up to the operation.
“Whilst it is frustrating for both Darren and the club that he won’t be able to contribute further during this campaign, this decision has been taken with our full support in the best interests of his long term health.
“We look forward to him returning next season with this problem firmly behind him.
“We would be grateful if his privacy could be respected at this time and in the coming months in order to aid his recuperation.”
Fletcher’s one of the good guys, so to see him struck down once again by this condition is a kick to the gut. He made 13 appearances this year and looked to be on the road to recovery, putting a good bit of weight back on, but this surgery seemed necessary all along.
It took a lot of mental strength for Fletcher to get back into the squad this season but it is going to have to be a monumental push if he is going to return again next year. The club sounds confident and I hope it isn’t unfounded.
Despite making so few appearances, his absence for the season now leaves us wafer thin in midfield options. He was a great alternative to Carrick, the deep-lying possession based midfielder, and the onus is pretty much solely on Carrick to deliver now.
Phil Jones can certainly cover when necessary but an injury to Carrick could be catastrophic for United. We don’t typically make big movement in January but this blow for Fletcher could mean we bring a player to reinforce the midfield or give the likes of Powell and Tunnicliffe more first team opportunities.
Either way, it is a big blow to a player who is highly looked on by everyone at United. We wish Darren the best of luck in his recovery and that, in time, he can overcome his condition fully.