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Injury blow for Elphick after loan exit.

TOMMY Elphick has had an operation on his injured knee and is expected to be out of action for around six weeks.

The Aston Villa defender only joined Reading on loan last week and made his debut as a substitute in a 3-1 win against Burton Albion.

Royals boss Jaap Stam handed Elphick his first start against Millwall on Saturday but it ended badly for the 30-year-old as he was forced off after 32 minutes.

Stam was fearing the worst after the match. He said: "I don't know how it is but it doesn't look good.

"There was no one in the area when it happened, he twisted his knee and felt something.

"It must have been quite painful otherwise he wouldn't have had to go off. He did well when he was on the pitch so it was very disappointing."

But it's not as bad as first feared and Elphick underwent a successful operation earlier this week and hopes to be back playing before the end of the campaign.

Elphick said: "Gutted I had to have a minor op but (it) was a good outcome and I'm in very good hands. I will hopefully be back in six weeks, thanks for the messages." ? Meanwhile, Melbourne City wanted to keep Ross McCormack longer - but couldn't reach an agreement with Villa.

McCormack was in fine form for the Australian A-League club and scored 14 goals in 17 appearances.

Despite Melbourne's desire to retain McCormack, the striker is now back at Bodymoor Heath, with little prospect of playing for Villa.

Melbourne boss Warren Joyce said: "It's disappointing to lose Ross. We weren't able to reach an agreement between the two clubs and that is football. We have to get on with it. We hope he looks back on his time in Melbourne and thoroughly enjoyed it. He was a hit with the fans and players so I think it worked for both parties."

McCormack was recruited to cover for Bruno Fornaroli and, with the striker still injured, Melbourne are without a specialist centreforward at the moment. Steve Bruce has given the Scottish striker time off since his return to England.

The Villa boss said: "I would have liked Ross to have stayed in Australia and play because I think he's benefited from playing. But he'll come back in and we'll see how he is.

"You can never say never and I'll never, ever cut off my nose to spite my face, even though I'd like to at times."

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Tommy Elphick

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 8, 2018
Words:420
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