Robbie Grabarz has been forced to pull out of the European Athletics Team Championships with a knee injury.

The Olympic bronze medalist had been in line to compete at the event in Gateshead which gets underway on Saturday, but has withdrawn as a precaution. His place in the team, which is captained by 400m hurdler Perri Shakes-Drayton, is taken by Tom Parsons.

British Athletics head coach Peter Eriksson was keen to accentuate the positives of Grabarz's absence from the event in the north east.

"Tom [Parsons] is showing a great return to form and it is good to see him back," he said.

Grabarz, who claimed a bronze medal in the high jump at the London Olympics last summer, is joined on the sidelines by pole vaulter Steve Lewis (shin) and 3,000m steeplechase runner Eilish McColgan (calf). 

Andrew Sutcliffe and Lennie Waite will replace them in Gateshead, while Izzy Jeffs steps in to replace javelin thrower Freya Jones, who has opted to remain in the USA.

"Whilst it is disappointing to lose some great athletes from the team, with every disappointment comes an opportunity," continued Eriksen.

"Andrew is also looking good and it is also a good opportunity for Lennie and Izzy to make their mark at this level in front of the home crowd.

"I'm happy that the athletes stepping in can bring home the points needed to have a successful weekend."

Despite the absence of Grabarz there should be plenty for the home crowd to cheer about this weekend, with the likes of Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford, Christine Ohuruogu and Dai Greene all taking part in the event.

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