Brighton winger Kaoru Mitoma is set to miss the rest of the season with a back injury, says manager Roberto De Zerbi.

The Japan winger missed Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Everton with a back injury and De Zerbi has now confirmed Mitoma will now be ruled out for two to three months.

“A bad, bad situation. I think we’ve lost Mitoma until the end of the season,” he said in a pre-match press conference ahead of Brighton’s FA Cup fifth round tie with Wolves.

“He has a back injury, it is an important problem. I think he will be out for two or three months and two or three months finishes the season.”

With & without Mitoma

Mitoma had been out with an ankle injury – and was also on Asia Cup duty – from December 28 and only returned Seagulls action on February 10 for the 2-1 loss at Tottenham.

The following week, he played 76 minutes in Sheffield United’s 5-0 win over Brighton and was the subject of a horrendous challenge by Mason Holgate, who was sent off.

That match at Bramall Lane now appears to be Mitoma’s last match of the season – but De Zerbi confirmed last week that the back problem did not emanate from that challenge.

“No no no, Mitoma suffered something with his back before the Sheffield game,” said De Zerbi. “The player of Sheffield [Holgate] has no responsibility for the injury of Kaoru.”

More to follow.

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