ESSENDON youngster Tom Hird looks set to miss all of his debut season after scans confirmed a serious foot injury in recent days.
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Hird, the son of champion Bomber and former coach James, experienced soreness in recent days with it being revealed he had suffered a navicular stress fracture.
Tom Hird has suffered a setback.— Essendon FC (@essendonfc) June 3, 2020
The small forward had been making strong progress in his first season with the club having surprisingly signed with the Bombers as a category B rookie in March.
The injury setback will bring back bad memories for his father, whose career was put on hold by foot injuries in the late 1990s before he returned to skipper the Bombers to their 2000 premiership.
Football manager Dan Richardson said the club would be cautious with the 19-year-old's recovery.
"Tom will rest his foot for the next period and we will continue to monitor his progress but it will be a longer-term injury," Richardson said.
"It's a disappointing setback for Tom after his start with the club in recent months, and with the nature of navicular injuries, we will continue to take full caution approaching Tom's rehabilitation over the coming weeks."
Tom had impressed Essendon insiders with his courage, ball use on his preferred left-foot and running capacity in a short time at the club, having also improved his strength.
His famous father said he was "shocked" when Tom told him earlier this year he was keen to pursue an AFL career having given up a promising soccer career which had seen him trial internationally.
He would be a fourth-generation Bomber if he can break through for an AFL debut.