BEN JOHNSON faces missing a big chunk of next season after discovering he needs more major surgery on his knee.
The Bognor winger was out for a year after rupturing his cruciate ligament in September 2012 and has suffered a succession of problems since.
What these results show is that his cruciate has failed – it hasn’t gone again but it has failed.Jamie Howell
His 2014-15 campaign was cut short by injury but the Rocks were hoping it was just ligament damage.
New results show it is more serious, though, and manager Jamie Howell said: “What these results show is that his cruciate has failed – it hasn’t gone again but it has failed.
“It needs to be done again and Ben is obviously looking at a lot longer out of action, which is a big blow to him and to us a club. We’d been hoping to welcome him back in pre-season.”
Johnson, a firm fans’ favourite at Nyewood Lane, was one of three key players to miss much of last season. Right-back Paul Hinshelwood is recovering from knee surgery but won’t be fit for the start of the season, while left-back Daryl Wollers has proved his fitness after a hip operation.
The news on Johnson comes as Howell continues his work to tie down existing members of the squad for next season and look for new blood.
Last season’s achievements were celebrated at the players’ presentation night at the ground on Sunday and Howell said he was pleased for defender Dan Sackman, who landed the supporters’ player of the year trophy.
“Dan goes under the radar in terms of what he does for the team so I’m really pleased he has got some recognition,” Howell said.
Striker Ollie Pearce’s future is up in the air after he had a trial with League Two club Cambridge united. He played for their reserves against Pompey last week and may spend further time with them in pre-season.
Howell said: “If he does get a move to a pro club it will be brilliant for him but he may still be around and available to us – we’ll have to wait and see.”