CONCERNED Poole Town boss Tom Killick fears stricken frontman Luke Roberts may have to wait months for surgery after sustaining a career-threatening injury.

Roberts was rocked when he discovered he had ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during a pre-season friendly against Weymouth last month.

The 23-year-old, who was initially seen by Cherries physio Steve Hard, was referred for a scan and given the news after the results had come back on Monday.

Roberts, who has just finished a degree in sport development and coaching sciences at Bournemouth University, was said to have been “extremely upset” when Killick broke it to him.

With neither Poole Town nor Roberts in a position to finance an operation privately, the player will be treated under the National Health Service.

Dolphins boss Killick told the Daily Echo: “There is no easy way of breaking that sort of news. Although I think Luke feared the worst, it still comes as a big shock. It will be difficult for him to come to terms with it and will take a while to sink in.

“Everyone had been clinging to the hope that it was just cartilage damage and he might be out for four to six weeks.

“It is a major blow, especially as it happened in a pre-season friendly. All of a sudden, we are without a player who we can’t afford to be without for the whole season.

“But the overwhelming thing is for Luke himself. He had got himself in a position where he was full of confidence and improving with every game.

“He was one of the best strikers in National South last season and I felt there was a lot more to come from him.

“The big thing is the personal impact on him. He is devastated at the moment but he is young and fit and, nowadays, the operation is much better than it used to be in terms of players coming back at a good level so we feel he can return better than ever.

“But we as a club are not in a position to pay for the operation and neither is Luke so we are reliant on the National Health Service.

“We just hope things can be progressed as quickly as possible but the difficulty is you get thrown into the system and it can be months before you have an operation.

“It is a terrible personal blow for him when he was looking to be on the cusp of doing great things, not just for us but for himself personally.

“The thoughts of everybody at Poole Town are with Luke and he will receive our full support as he battles back from this during the coming months.”

Poole defender Michael Walker suffered a similar injury in November and has started his rehab having gone under the knife in June.