Whitehaven’s winter capture Matty While is having to focus now on a return to action next year.

The 22-year-old forward, who has not played since the pre-season warm-up games, has been confirmed as suffering from anterior cruciate ligament damage.

It was the result of a training ground injury which has kept him frustratingly sidelined for the first half of the League One campaign, in which Whitehaven have soared to the top of the table. A torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) may need reconstructive surgery.

The ACL is a tough band of tissue joining the thigh bone to the shin bone at the knee joint.

It runs diagonally through the inside of the knee and gives the knee joint stability. It also helps to control the back-and-forth movement of the lower leg.

Coach Gary Charlton said: “It’s been very frustrating for Matty but now that the damage has been pinpointed he knows his season is over.

“Matty was unlucky in that he probably didn’t get enough game time at Barrow where he played 11 times. We were hoping he would challenge strongly for a place in our pack and the injury has been most unfortunate for him.

“He comes from a Super League background having spent a number of years with the Leeds Rhinos Academy.”

Whitehaven’s only other casualty at the moment is another former Barrow player, forward Ruairi McGoff who is suffering with a back problem and won’t be involved on Sunday against Coventry.

Whitehaven have also lost the services of half-back Jake Carter who has been recalled from his extended loan spell by parent club, Barrow.

“Barrow have a few injuries and suspensions so they are a bit short and Jake has gone back to boost their squad. We were really pleased with how he performed for us during his loan spell,” said Charlton.