KEITH Hill has confirmed Ali Crawford will be side-lined for a “sustained length of time” after picking up a knee injury against Manchester City’s Under-21s.

The Scottish midfielder is understood to have damaged ligaments during injury time in the Trophy tie, having scored to help his side on the way to a 3-1 win.

Crawford’s injury cast a shadow over the result but Hill does not regret naming a strong side for the game.

“It’s a consequence of playing sport,” he said. “If you don’t want to get injured then you shouldn’t play. You have to go out and express yourself physically on the pitch, you can’t hide or go one foot in, one foot out.

“As a consequence to loving the game of football Ali got injured but he’ll come back stronger for it, no question about it, along with the rest of the players who are out.

“There was nothing we could do about it. Ali could have done that walking down the street the way he actually got injured. He’ll be out for a sustained length of time, we don’t know how long just yet but there are no regrets with respect to playing him.”

Hill will have to reshuffle his side and has hinted that Chris O’Grady could be employed in a different position against Fleetwood this weekend.

“He could play a different role,” he said. “We have got a lot of players who could do – Dennis Politic, Sonny Graham. We still have a situation in central defence.

“We have got a plan but in previous weeks it has had to change, last, on several occasions.

“We are trying to put a team together. We know what two thirds of it will be.”