Derry City will 'rally around' Ciaron Harkin after 'devastating' recurrence of ACL injury

DERRY CITY boss Ruaidhri Higgins insists the club will 'rally around' Ciaron Harkin and tipped the midfielder to bounce back from the 'horrendous' recurrence of his ACL injury seven months into his rehabilitation.

The 26 year-old Creggan man appeared to be ahead of schedule and entering the final stages of his rehab programme after rupturing his ACL last February during the clash with Shamrock Rovers at Brandywell.

He's been an ever present in the dressing room and at matches home and away supporting his teammates who are battling on two fronts in the league and cup this season.

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It was hoped he would return before the season ended having worked hard to get back on the training pitch but Harkin sustained a recurrence of his ACL injury during a training session at the club this week.

Higgins and the Derry players were left 'devastated' by the injury and the City boss insists Harkin will receive the best treatment possible as they do everything in their power to get him 'back to his very best again'.

"It's devastating news," said Higgins. "He's devastated and we are all devastated for him. This club means the world to him and he's been a supporter of the club since he was a boy. So it makes it extra hard for him.

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"He'll get all the support he needs here but it's just horrendous. Seven months into his rehab. He's worked unbelievably hard and it's a major setback for him.

"Again, we'll rally around him and look after him as best we can and try to keep his spirits up. Given the character he is, I'm sure he'll do his very best to do the same. It's a long road and he needs everyone to be there for him."

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Derry City's Ciaron Harkin sustained a recurrence of his ACL injury in training this week.

Harkin is set to review the results of his scan with a specialist on Friday to set in motion a recovery plan but Higgins admits the early prognosis didn't look good for the midfield man.

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"He's got his scan results which don't read brilliantly but he has to sit down with the specialist and come up with a plan and then we'll have a bit more detail on it but it's not good anyway."

Asked if he felt Harkin would bounce back from this injury blow, Higgins responded positively, pointing to the player's influence around the club and his reaction to his initial injury sustained at the start of the season.

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"Of course he can. He's been so good throughout this process even around the club, he's very much the front and centre of the dressing room. He's there all the time. At away games you turn around and he's standing there which just shows what the club means to him.

"He's dealt with it all really well from a mental and physical point of view. Listen, he knows he's very, very highly thought of. We care strongly about him here. He will get the best treatment possible and hopefully we can get him back to his very best again."

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Derry City defender Mark Connolly also expressed his best wishes for 'Jackie' in his recovery and insisted the player will remain 'a massive part of the team' for the season run-in.

"He's a young lad who is around the place and his influence and presence is absolutely fantastic. He's one of those boys, every time you see him around the place on gameday he gives a lift to the changing room. We're all devastated at what's happened but he will be a massive part for us until the end of the season with his influence around the place.”

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Derry City suffer injury set-back