Taiwo Awoniyi will miss next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Côte d’Ivoire through injury.
Nottingham Forest Head Coach Steve Cooper confirmed that Awoniyi will spend months on the sidelines due to an aggravation of a groin injury he picked up in October.
Awoniyi played an hour for Nigeria’s Super Eagles in their 1-1 draw with Lesotho before withdrawing from international duty last week.
The striker, who has scored four goals in 11 appearances for Forest this season, will now spend an extended spell on the sidelines.
Speaking in Thursday’s morning’s press conference ahead of Saturday’s fixture against Brighton and Hove Albion, Cooper said on Forest’s website: “It’s bad news on Taiwo, he’s had to have surgery and he is going to be out for months.
“We’ll support him and try to get him back as quick and as fit as he can be, but it’s a really unfortunate situation and a blow for him.
“He’s become an important player for us with the goals he’s scored and the goals he will score for us, but he’s such a good guy and a good professional who is desperate to do well, so to get an injury like this is harsh on him.
“We’ve got to support him through the process of coming back stronger. He’s done that once before here and I’m sure he will give everything again like he did last time.
“You think about how well he did when he returned last season, I’m sure that’s given him a good reference point to come back to.
“We’ll definitely see him again this season, but it’s groin surgery so it will take a little while.”
The 2023 AFCON will begin 13 January to 11 February 2024.
The Super Eagles will take on hosts Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea and Guinea-Bissau in Group A.
Awoniyi was part of the Eagles squad at the 2021 tournament held in Cameroon.