STEVE McClaren has challenged his Derby County players to respond to the body-blow of losing new signing George Thorne for up to nine months.
Thorne underwent surgery yesterday to repair anterior cruciate ligament damage in his left knee and he faces a long spell on the sidelines.
The 21-year-old midfielder suffered the injury playing in Tuesday's friendly against Russian club Zenit St Petesburg, the first of two games for the Rams on their trip to Austria.
It was felt Thorne had only jarred his knee but a scan on Wednesday was inconclusive and so he flew back to England where a second scan broke the bad news.
Thorne only completed his £2m-plus move from West Bromwich Albion a week ago.
His injury is a huge setback with the start of the new Championship campaign a little over two weeks away, but McClaren has delivered a positive message.
"It is a huge disappointment, for George personally, and for us and we wish him a speedy recovery," said the head coach.
"George will be back, he is still young. He has to stay positive and we have to deal with it and move on.
"Injuries are one of the pitfalls of football and the team needs to respond.
"People have to step forward, fill in, do a job, and we carry on.
"We are being positive and we will try to get into a position where George comes back and helps the team.
"We've still got a very strong midfield department.
"George gave us good balance but other players have to step forward and provide that balance now.
"The competition after bringing in George was fierce. It still is."
This is Thorne's second cruciate ligament injury in 18 months.
He ruptured the ACL in his right knee playing for West Brom against Everton in January 2013.
Thorne returned to action in November last year and played on loan at Watford before he joined the Rams for a loan spell in January.
His impressive performances helped Derby finish third in the Championship and reach the play-off final where they lost to Queen's Park Rangers.
Derby, McClaren and the fans were delighted to see the player sign permanently last week but delight has turned to bitter disappointment with this injury news.