Francisco Sandaza could miss rest of year after breaking cheekbone

RANGERS expect to be without Francisco Sandaza for the rest of the year following confirmation he has suffered a broken cheekbone.

Ironically, the Spaniard spoke recently of the intense physical challenge that came with playing in the Third Division, describing each game as a “war”, yet his injury came in Rangers’ first clash against top-flight opposition. The striker was forced out of Wednesday night’s Scottish Communities League Cup win over Motherwell after a clash of heads with Shaun Hutchinson and was taken from Ibrox to hospital for an X-ray.

The Spaniard faces a minimum of eight weeks on the sidelines, although the Glasgow club fear he will be out of action for the remainder of 2012.

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Sandaza was kept in hospital overnight before undergoing an operation yesterday morning to have a plate inserted in his head as part of the procedure.

A story on Rangers’ website confirmed: “Sandaza now faces a lengthy spell on the sidelines and the minimum amount of time such injuries keep a player out is eight weeks. More realistically, however, it is anticipated he will miss the rest of the calendar year as he sets out on the long road to recovery.”

The former St Johnstone and Dundee United striker joined Rangers in the summer and had yet to fully make an impact, having struggled with his fitness earlier in the season.

This latest injury setback is a further blow for manager Ally McCoist, whose attacking options are already limited.

Fellow new recruit David Templeton is out for a number of weeks with ankle ligament damage, while Andy Little is still recovering from a foot problem.

Meanwhile, Kyle Hutton hopes an impressive substitute appearance against Motherwell will end his first-team exile, having been absent since the League Cup win over East Fife in early August.

Admitting he had no idea why he had been continually overlooked, Hutton said: “I’ve not really got an answer to that question. I could have sat in the corner and sulked but I knew what I had to do. I just kept my head down and worked hard.

“I got my reward on Wednesday and I took my chance, so hopefully things can change. I’ve been a bit frustrated over the past while with not getting a game. But I’ve come in now and played well so hopefully I can kick on now.”