David Ball is facing four to six weeks on the sidelines after fracturing a metatarsal on his left foot in training.
It is a huge blow to the teenaged striker who was on the bench for the Manchester derby and has subsequently been named in a couple of first team squads.
Ball had scored six goals in as many reserve team outings to press his claims for inclusion but could now be out of action until around Christmas time.
“I am absolutely crestfallen, the injury could not have come at a worse time,” lamented the 19-year-old after treatment on his left foot which is encased in a boot.
“I would like to think that I am a quick healer and I am getting the best possible care so I will be back as soon as possible.
The medical staff reckons a month minimum. When I first picked up the injury I was really, really down because the timing of it is so bad.
“I have just been in a couple of first team squads and been training regularly with them and now I will have to wait to impress again.
“Then there is the trip to Abu Dhabi and the prestigious friendly that I will miss. It couldn’t really have happened at a worse time but injury is part and parcel of being a professional footballer.
“The great thing is that I can work on other aspects of my game for a while including my strength.”
Reserve team coach Glyn Hodges sympathised with his young charge.
"It is a blow for David because he has been doing ever so well with plenty of league teams looking at him," he said.
"But there is a silver cloud in every situation and for him it means getting in the gym and working on his strength."
The first game that Ball will is miss is tomorrow’s mini derby against United at the Regional Athletics Arena (7pm).
Fans are reminded that the clash with Bolton Wanderers’ second string which was scheduled for next Monday, November 9 has now been shifted to January 11 due to the Blues being away in the United Arab Emirates.