Oakley out for season

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Southampton have been rocked by an injury to Matt Oakley which will keep the midfielder out of action for the rest of the season.

Oakley picked up a knee injury against Middlesbrough at the end of September and Saints had hoped the 26-year-old would not require surgery.

But after the problem failed to heal of its own accord, the South Coast club have been forced to send Oakley for an operation.

The influential midfielder has been booked in for surgery on Saturday and will play no further part in the club's push for a European berth.

Oakley aggravated the injury during training as he stepped up his rehabilitation and Southampton are thankful the fresh setback occurred during training, rather than in a match.

"The good thing is that it happened in a controlled environment designed to test the strength rather than in a match which could have caused a lot more damage," physio Jim Joyce told the club's website.

"We knew within 48 hours of the Boro game that he had considerable damage to the cruciate ligament and he saw a surgeon who decided to leave it for the time being.

"There was a chance it might have healed but in any case it would not have been safe to carry out an operation within four to six weeks as the knee needed time to calm down.

"It was only a partial tear so it might have been possible to rehabilitate and recover without surgery.

"We tried to keep the outlook positive during his rehab work and did not want to start looking on the black side.

"Although he has made good progress, when it got to the point where he had to close players down then he discovered the knee was not stable enough to allow him back without a reconstruction.

"It is desperately disappointing for him and for us but it is a straightforward operation and, like a lot of other players, he should make a full recovery.

"He should be fully fit for the start of pre-season training and be able to kick off next season at full pace."