Kolkata: ATK forward Kalu Uche was on Friday ruled out for at least six weeks with a grade three qaudricep tear, coach Steve Coppell said ahead of their Indian Super League (ISL) game against bottom-placed FC Pune City.
“He had an extensive tear in his qaudricep muscles. It is grade three which is quite bad. We expect Kalu to be fit around Christmas so we are really looking for a player to fill in for what could be five games after this game,” Coppell told.
Coppell informed that the Nigerian has gone back to Barcelona for medical treatment.
“We got league approval only last night so we could not get anyone in for this match. He obviously leaves a big hole in our squad. We have requested the ISL whether we can replace him in the short time.
“They have said yes we can but that creates problems in itself because trying to find someone for a short period of time is very difficult. We have sent feelers out for replacements,” he said.
The 36-year-old has scored one goal from five matches for ATK.
Uche sustained the injury after being hacked down by Albert Serran in the 39th minute during their 1-2 loss to Bengaluru FC on October 31.
The two-time former champions have lost three matches so far, all being at home.
ATK lie seventh in the points table with two wins and one draw.
Out of the eight goals conceded by ATK this season, five have come via set-pieces — the most by any team this season.
In their previous match against Bengaluru FC, both of their goals were conceded via free kicks.
“It”s a pain for us to be absolutely honest because we work very hard to stop set pieces. You are right that we have conceded too many goals from set pieces.
“First and foremost I would say, don’t conceded a set piece and commit a foul. If you do conceded one, you have to be alive to situations and defenders have to accept more responsibility.
Pune are yet to win from six matches but the Englishman said they are not underestimating last year’s semi-finalists.
“If we are to win the game, we have to earn victory. No one is going to give us the win and make it easy for us. We have to earn it for ourselves,” he added.