Leeds United midfielder Eunan O’Kane will be a big miss for the Hatters as he returns to his parent club to begin his rehabilitation for a double leg fracture this week, according to Saturday's match-winner Andrew Shinnie.
The 28-year-old fractured both his fibula and tibia during the 1-0 win over Bristol Rovers at the weekend, and after undergoing surgery at the L&D Hospital, will head back to Elland Road to start his recovery.
O'Kane had only recently joined the Hatters on loan until January, but Shinnie had been hugely impressed by the new addition in training, saying: “It’s just really unfortunate as he’s a talented player.
“I was a bit surprised that he came to us as he’s played in the Premier League and been in the Championship a lot of his career.
"That just shows we’re a big club as we can attract players to the club like Eunan.
“He’s a top player as although he didn’t start a match, he was building his way into that.
“He’s come in and you see him in training and the games he’s come on, he’s a great footballer, I would have enjoyed playing with him, but that’s football really, injuries happen.
“We’ve seen it with Bez (Luke Berry). Bez has recovered really well, obviously got a set-back recently, but his rehab was great.
“Eunan’s in good hands, he’ll get the best medical help, but we’ll miss him around the place.”
Shinnie admitted he hadn’t quite expected the injury to be so severe, after O’Kane went over a challenge with Town looking to break away and score a second goal to kill off the Pirates.
He continued: “I didn’t think it was bad to be honest.
“We were on the break, he just took a little heavy touch which gave the guy a chance to come in and have a tackle.
"I think it was a fair tackle, a hard tackle and at first, I thought Eunan was just trying to wind the clock down by staying down.
“But then I heard him screaming and I ran right over, it was weird, it was similar to Colchester (when Luke Berry suffered a dislocated ankle and fractured fibula).
“I was right next to Bez as well, and you just get a feeling when you know something’s not right.
“He was in pain and I think he knew right away what he’d done.
“It’s horrible and we had to dig in right at the end for him, as everyone wanted to dig in and get the win for him.
"It’s going to be a long road for him, but he’ll be in the best hands and we wish him well.”
Town had to navigate 11 minutes of stoppage time after the lengthy delay, but they did so with relative ease, as Shinnie added: “It was a weird feeling as you’re looking at the clock and it’s whatever it was, 78 minutes, and you’re thinking, 'right 10 more minutes.'
"But when it got to 90 minutes, you didn’t know how long there was to go. They’re lumping it, when it’s 1-0 you’re nervy, so it made the game a bit strange,
"I didn’t feel that we were ever in much trouble though. They played a few long balls, but we’ve got big Sonny (Bradley) and big meathead Matty (Pearson) back there who will head them away.
"So apart from that, there was a few little scraps at the edge of the box, maybe one day it could fall to them and they bury it and that would have killed us as we definitely deserved to win the game.
"So obviously we’d like to put teams to bed earlier if we can, but it was an important game to get back to winning ways, so I'm glad we did it.”