Poyet: CMS will be tough to replace

9:00am Thursday 7th March 2013 in Albion By Brian Owen
Craig Mackail-Smith scored 11 goals this season
Gus Poyet has hailed his top scorer’s contribution to Albion’s play-off push – and admitted he will be tough to replace.
Poyet is looking for a loan signing after 11-goal Craig Mackail-Smith saw his season ended by a ruptured Achilles.
The Scottish international will undergo surgery on Monday after collapsing in agony during his side’s 0-0 draw with Bristol City on Tuesday.
Poyet is convinced he will be back in time for pre-season training.
The Albion manager discussed his options yesterday and wants to add to attacking choices now limited to Leo Ulloa and Ashley Barnes.
But he admits Mackail-Smith’s all-action style makes him tough to replace.
He said: “First and foremost this is a big blow. He is our top scorer, he was having a great season. By halfway through the season he was on 11 goals.
“He was having a few small problems in terms of fitness because of the quantity of games he played.
“We were trying to recover. The arrival of Leo Ulloa gave us the chance to rest him and make sure he was fit.
“There was a game – Cardiff away – where he was not even on the bench. Then, when he was getting better, this happened.
“It’s a real blow for the rest of our season. We will see if we can sort it out.
“I don’t know the type of player we will get but it’s not going to be the same as Macca.”
Albion have already seen the season of striker Will Hoskins curtailed by a knee injury.
Poyet felt the return to fitness of Vicente would help balance that loss and opted not to make a signing at that time.
But he is wary of asking too much of Ulloa, who is still adapting to the rigours of the Championship.
Poyet added: “We now have a very difficult decision to make. There are always players available. The thing is to get the one we want and who will bring what we need. That is not always possible.”

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