YOUNG Saints striker Dom Ballard is expected to miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn patella tendon.

He was substituted with a concerning injury during Reading's 2-1 win at Wycombe Wanderers on November 25.

The England youth international was stretchered with an oxygen mask in the first half of the League One clash.

Reading boss Ruben Selles has now revealed the extent of Ballard’s injury, which will require surgery.

He said: “He broke his patella tendon. The good news, if there is anything good with that, is that there is no more damage on the knee so only the patella.

“He will have surgery and we are working with Southampton to prepare the next steps. He is a fantastic player and a fantastic boy.

“He will have a very good career and it is just a pity we can’t use him for the rest of the season because as you can see he is very important for us.

“We wish him a quick recovery and hopefully it can keep him in the game for the next 15 years. We will be here for anything he needs.”

Ballard has scored three goals in 10 league appearances for the Royals and scored an 11-minute hattrick for England Under-19s against Mexico earlier this month.