Hodgson fears long Johnson lay-off

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Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has revealed that striker Andy Johnson has undergone an exploratory operation in a bid to solve his groin problem.

Johnson was missing from the Fulham side that drew 1-1 with Bolton on Saturday and Hodgson now fears that the former England international could be out for some time.

"He had an operation on Saturday and I am waiting to hear what the results of that are," said Hodgson. "It is pretty much exploratory because he has tried so hard to get back. I fear he will be out for some time."

He added: "There have been days when we thought he has cracked it and got manageable pain but then the following day when he comes out to training, he does not have manageable pain. He is forced to go back inside again and that was the case on Friday and the day before.

"That has prompted us, after the numerous scans and alternative medicine, to operate and go into the area where he is suffering the pain in the hope of finding out what it is and put it right."

While Johnson struggles to regain his fitness, Hodgson can soothe himself in the knowledge that he has probably rescued Damien Duff's career from going into freefall.

Duff's 75th-minute equaliser against Bolton was drilled home with his right foot and Hodgson is delighted with the form of the Republic of Ireland international since he rescued the 30-year-old from Newcastle for a fee reported to be in the region of £4million.

Hodgson was the manager of Blackburn between June 1997 and November 1998 and saw at first hand the enormous potential of the young winger, who moved to Chelsea for £17million in July 2003. Duff later joined Newcastle for £5m in July 2006, spending three years on Tyneside.

"I didn't follow him closely during those years he was at Newcastle because I was out of the country, all I know is when he left Chelsea to go to there for big money, he suffered quite a number of important injuries," said Hodgson.

"Whether suffering injuries is the same as losing your way is something I would contest. All I can say is that he is a better player than the one I worked with at Blackburn 12 years ago."

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Blackburn Rovers
Bolton Wanderers
Premier League
Damien Duff

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