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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 November, 2003, 13:22 GMT
Appleton forced to retire
Former West Brom and Preston midfielder Michael Appleton
West Bromwich Albion midfielder Michael Appleton has retired after losing a two-year battle to recover from a serious knee injury.

The 27-year-old ruptured posterior knee ligaments in a training ground accident in November 2001 with three operations failing to clear up the problem.

Appleton moved to Albion in a 750,000 deal from Preston in January 2001.

"This is one of the saddest days I've had as a manager," Baggies boss Gary Megson told the club's official website.

"Football can't afford to be losing a player of his ilk.

"Seeing any player have to finish his career through injury is a huge blow but losing a player with the character of Michael is a massive, massive blow."

Appleton made 202 career appearances, the last in a 1-0 win over Birmingham at St Andrews in November 2001.

Appleton on road to recovery
04 Feb 03  |  West Bromwich Albion
Baggies' Appleton blow
22 Nov 01  |  West Bromwich Albion
West Brom sign Appleton
18 Jan 01  |  West Bromwich Albion

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