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Tuesday, 13 November, 2001, 13:05 GMT
Bhutia injury rocks Bury
Bhutia needs further surgery on his troublesome knee
Bhutia will be out for at least five months
Bury's Indian international skipper Bhaichung Bhutia has been ruled out for at least five months.

The Shakers' striker has discovered he will need a further operation on his troublesome knee injury.

Bhutia looked to be on the comeback trail two weeks ago when he scored from the penalty spot in the reserves' 3-1 victory over Huddersfield Town.

However, he suffered a reaction, and further tests confirmed that he will be out of action for about five months.

"It's a massive blow for us," boss Andy Preece told Bury's website.

"To lose him, Matt Barrass and Chris Billy with similar injuries is awful luck.

"All three of them started the season in the first team and Bhaichung was going to be a big part of the team this season playing in a withdrawn role with Jon Newby."

Bhutia's contract with Bury expires at the end of the season, and this setback will raise doubts if he will ever wear a Bury shirt again.

However, on-loan winger Harpal Singh has been given the green light to join Bury's FA Cup campaign.

Leeds have given permission for Bury to play Singh in the FA Cup
Singh can play in the FA Cup for Bury
His club Leeds United have granted the Shakers permission to play him against Lincoln City in the first round next Saturday.

Preece contacted David O'Leary to extend Singh's stay at Gigg Lane, and they were happy for him to turn out in the cup despite making him ineligible for Leeds.

The Bury boss is hopeful of further extending the stay of Singh, and will be keeping in touch with the Elland Road management over the next few days.

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