Joe Wollacott has undergone a successful operation on a fractured finger and is now set to fly out to join the Ghana squad in Qatar.
The goalkeeper, who helped the Black Stars reach the 2022 FIFA World Cup with a number of impressive displays, was ruled out of the tournament after picking up an injury during the warm-up at Burton Albion last weekend.
“He had an operation yesterday which has gone very well and now it’s the rehabilitation process,” explained Ben Garner. “There’s not much you can do really; it will just be a case of splinting it and keeping it mobile.
“He’s still due to go out and join Ghana and have that experience. He’s been a key part of them getting there so he fully deserves to go and be out there with the squad and experience the highs and lows of a World Cup.
“But he will be out longer than he would have been if he was going, playing and coming back," added the boss. "Our priority is his wellbeing physically and mentally, making sure he gets the support that he needs.
“I was so disappointed for him over the weekend and for a good couple of days if I’m honest. I care for these players and I want the best for them. Having seen Jojo’s progression over the last 16 months or so, it’s been incredible. The talent was there, he just needed the opportunity and he’s taken those opportunities with both hands.
“He’s had a fantastic season in League Two, he’s become Ghana’s number one, he’s had a really strong start to life in League One here with us and then he’s about to go to the World Cup so it’s a devastating blow for him. What I will say knowing him is that he’s got a fantastic mentality. He will come back stronger, he will come back better and he will put the disappointment behind him and use it as fuel for the rest of his career.”
Asked if Wollacott could be available before the end of the calendar year, Garner said: “I wouldn’t want to put a timeframe like that, but I would certainly say it’s touch and go.
“It will be longer than it would have been if he had gone to the World Cup, that’s for sure," the gaffer continued. "I think we would have had him back sooner, without any shadow of a doubt, from the World Cup rather than the injury.”
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