New Hatters forward could be out for 'months' if he requires shoulder surgery

On-loan Grimsby attacker might have to go under the knife

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 4th August 2022, 6:02 pm
New Luton signing John McAtee faces a spell on the sidelines
New Luton signing John McAtee faces a spell on the sidelines

New Luton signing John McAtee could be out for ‘months’ according to Grimsby Town boss Paul Hurst if he requires surgery on a shoulder injury.

The 23-year-old joined the Hatters on Tuesday morning for an undisclosed fee after scoring 16 times as the Mariners won promotion from the National League via the play-offs, although was immediately loaned back to Blundell Park for the rest of the season.

Despite playing 90 minutes in Grimsby’s opening day 2-0 defeat at Leyton Orient in League Two, former Town midfielder George Moncur scoring from the penalty spot, McAtee is now unlikely to feature in Saturday’s home match against Northampton Town after dislocating his shoulder in the early exchanges of the contest.

Speaking to BBC Humberside Sport, when asked if McAtee, who also suffered the same injury late last season, would be available for the match, Hurst said: “I think that’s going to be probably a no, so we maybe for the first time have to plan without him.

“He's seeing a specialist, that's not happened yet, but once he does, that will determine whether he does (need surgery) or not.

"I think we've all got to brace ourselves that that's a possibility, but at the same time there's no point getting too far ahead until we’ve had that confirmed.

“The specialist will inform us of that, there is a possibility of him having it previous, it's now happened again since.

"I'm certainly not a specialist or a surgeon, but just common sense is going to suggest, it's not going to have got better, so that's the fear in one sense, but we’ll find out soon.

"It would be months, so that’s not ideal for anyone.

“For Luton, Luton wanted him to play games, that was part of the reason in agreeing for him to come back on loan.

"But again, respectfully, he’s not the first player to have an operation or need one and its certainly one he should be able to come back with no problems.

"It’s not like maybe when players have knee operations or things like that, you’re never quite sure how they’re going to recover.”

On whether Luton have taken charge of the situation, Hurst continued: “No, in fairness, they obviously will have their opinion and say, but the relationship between the two clubs has been extremely good.

"It’s been very open all along and the most important thing, genuinely, we can all try and be selfish, but it’s for John.

"I know if it’s a possibility, he’d prefer not to have an operation, that’s easy in one sense to say, but what’s actually best for a person, that might be taken out of his hands.”

With the Mariners now being light in the striker department, the Grimsby boss was quizzed about a potential relationship between the two clubs, and if there were any other players he would like to sign from Kenilworth Road.

He said: “Yes, quite a lot, I don’t think they’ll come to us though!

"To my mind and the parts that I’ve been involved in, there’s been a good relationship and been some honest and open conversations.

"I think they genuinely want to see if they can help, but at the same time a lot of clubs will have that idea and try and help.

"Genuinely there’s been some dialogue and more than with some clubs but if there’s anything they can help us with, I’m sure they will.”

If that was to happen before the weekend’s match though, Hurst added: “No, it’s looking very unlikely.”