BURTON Albion hope Jimmy Phillips will be back in action by Christmas.
The 24-year-old winger tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the 1-1 draw at Newport County on April 21.
Initially, it was hoped the club’s longest serving player would only be out for around four months, but his spell on the sidelines is likely to be nearer nine.
“They’ve said six to nine months potentially,” said boss Gary Rowett, who led the Brewers to Wembley a week ago, where they lost 1-0 to Fleetwood in the League Two play-off final.
“He could potentially return to training around November time and we’re looking at him back fit and playing around Christmas.
“That’s a rough guess – we don’t know exactly.”
Phillips was arguably in the form of his Albion career this season and was a key component of the side as they chased automatic promotion a year on from their previous play-off disappointment.
His injury – and those to Damien McCrory and Zeli Ismail – came at just the wrong time ahead of this year’s play-offs as the Brewers battled their way to Wembley.
Phillips was missed, but Rowett is confident about his future ahead of the winger’s sixth season at the Pirelli Stadium.
“He was fantastic this season,” said the manager. “He’s had a bit of bad luck with injuries in the last couple of seasons but he can get back to playing that type of football.
“Certainly, we want to keep him in the plans for the long-term future.”
Phillips’ contract expires at the end of the month, but he is staying on a month-to-month deal until he is back fit.
He made 37 appearances in all competitions this season, netting three goals, amazingly the first time he has hit the net in four years.
It represented a real turnaround from his injury-hit 2012/13 campaign, where he made just nine appearances.