Stekelenburg blow for Ajax

Thumb injury rules keeper out for up to six weeks

Stekelenburg: Broken thumb

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Ajax have been dealt a severe blow to their title hopes with the news goalkeeper and captain Maarten Stekelenburg will be out for up to six weeks.

The Netherlands international, a key member of the Godenzonen set-up, suffered a broken thumb during training on Saturday.

The Amsterdam club have confirmed on their official website the highly-rated 28-year-old is now facing four to six weeks on the sidelines.

Stekelenburg will miss the Europa League second-leg encounter against Spartak Moscow on Thursday as well as the majority of Ajax's Eredivisie games as the club look to win their first league title since 2004.

Keeper Ronald Graafland is available for selection, but usual stand-in Kenneth Vermeer is still unavailable as he recovers from an Achilles injury which has kept him out for six months.

Former Volendam shot-stopper Jeroen Verhoeven is likely to deputise on Sunday when Ajax travel to ADO Den Haag in the league.

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