WANDERERS defender Joe Riley could miss the next nine to 10 months of action with a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.

After The Bolton News went to press last night, the club played down rumours that the defender will be ruled out for the entire of next season.

The Boothstown full-back had just battled his way back from a series of injuries that restricted him to just two appearances last season.

But he limped out of a development squad game on Wednesday night at Skelmersdale United, and it is thought that scans later in the week confirmed the club’s worst fears.

Dougie Freedman would only confirm after last night's defeat at Carlisle that Riley would miss the start of the season.

It is understood that a deal had been agreed to loan the youngster out to League One Shrewsbury Town, who faced Wanderers in a friendly at the weekend, to gain more competitive experience.

Riley has suffered an almost identical injury to the one sustained by Mark Davies in February against Peterborough, with cartilage damage accompanying the ACL injury.

Davies recently returned to light training duties during the club’s summer camp in Spain but is not expected back in action until January.

Academy graduate Riley burst on to the scene under Owen Coyle and was widely tipped to become Wanderers’ first choice right-back.

He played seven times in league and cup during 2011/12 before a hamstring problem and a broken foot curtailed his progress.

Meanwhile, David  Ngog is set to play against Real Betis on Friday night after returning to full training.

Josh Vela, who has been struggling with a minor knee problem, could also feature.