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Assessing Rico Henry's potential replacements at left back as Brentford ace suffers long term injury

Full back likely to miss the rest of the season after blow

Brentford's luckless season continued as they confirmed that Rico Henry is out of action for a long time after a knee injury that requires reconstructive surgery.

The 20-year-old suffered the blow at Middlesbrough last Saturday and it is the second long-term absence of the left back's time at Griffin Park after needing shoulder surgery last season.

Bees' medical chief Neil Greig told the club's website: “The only details that we’re able to release at present are that the injury has been thoroughly investigated and will require surgery to resolve.

“This surgery will take place over the coming two to three weeks once the knee is sufficiently recovered from the initial trauma, in order to allow the best environment for full recovery.

"No timescales will be placed on Rico’s return to training at this time. However, it’s reasonable to expect that he will require a lengthy period of recovery and reconditioning.

"Rico is obviously a very talented young man and with that talent comes a very strong determination to succeed.

“This will stand him in good stead moving forward and we, as a club, will offer him our normal high levels of care and commitment during the process.”

The blow, though, means Dean Smith has a headache to decide who replaces Henry in the side, at least until January, when Tom Field returns from his loan spell at Bradford.

Below, GetWestLondon looks at the options available to the Bees head coach as well as the arguments for and against.

Ilias Chatzitheodoridis

Ilias Chatzitheodoridis

For: The 19-year-old is a natural left back and he was given a chance by Dean Smith in the Carabao Cup ties, starting against AFC Wimbledon, QPR and Norwich.

He has never looked out of place among the senior players and shone in the heat of a west London derby.

Against: The Greek full back is inexperienced at first team level with those appearances being his only senior outings.

While the former Arsenal trainee has impressed in League Cup matches, it would be a brave call to throw him into the heat of battle with Millwall visiting Griffin Park next weekend.

Mads Bech Sorensen

Mads Bech Sørensen

For: The 18-year-old Dane is also a more natural left back and was an unused substitute at Middlesbrough with Smith opting to bring Josh Clarke on.

He has experience of senior football in Denmark, making 20 league appearances for AC Horsens between 2015 and 2017 and was starting for them in the Superliga this season.

Sorensen is highly rated within the club and many feel it wouldn't have been long until he was pushing for a first team place.

Against: The 18-year-old has limited experience of English football and has never made a senior appearance.

Josh Clarke

Josh Clarke celebrates his goal(Image: Getty Images Europe)

For: The right sided player impressed when he came on at the Riverside Stadium on Saturday, playing his part in setting up Ollie Watkins' goal.

Being a natural wide player, he can adapt to the other flank, given that he's played on the left wing as well with Smith liking his wide attacking players to alternate.

Against: It's not his natural position and Clarke has forged a good partnership with Henrik Dalsgaard on the right hand side and has become an early contender for player of the season.

Yoann Barbet

Yoann Barbet

For: He played there last season at times when the Bees had Henry, Field and Callum Elder on the treatment table.

Against: The Frenchman is a centre back and prefers to play in the middle, although being a team player he would move across to full back.

With John Egan and Andreas Bjelland suffering injuries in the space of four days, he became the senior defender against Middlesbrough and he impressed, guiding Chris Mepham on his first league start. Moving him there would leave the Bees further stretched in central defence.

Andreas Bjelland

Andreas Bjelland

For: The Dane also played in the role last season, alternating with Barbet, and acquitted himself nicely. His experience, both in domestic and international football, has served him in good stead.

Against: Prior to his injury, Bjelland had been showing his capabilities at centre back and was starting to forge a good partnership with John Egan.

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