ROMONEY Crichlow promised long-term casualty Emmanuel Osadebe will still have a role to play in City’s season.

The midfielder is beginning his rehabilitation after Sunday’s operation to repair the broken tibia and fibula in his right leg.

It was a shocking way to start the season as one of the 14 summer signings was stretchered off against Doncaster.

Defender Crichlow insists Osadebe’s lengthy absence will provide extra incentive for a successful campaign – and his team-mates will make sure he is still involved.

Crichlow said: “Whether you are playing or not playing, everyone is together.

“We are a tight-knit group and I can say that honestly, hand on heart.

“We go to war together and we have had a great pre-season and become really close. To see one of our boys go down like that is not nice.

“It's sad but we know he's a strong individual and has got a great character and hopefully he is back soon.

“We have got to get behind him and send prayers out for a good recovery.”

Osadebe had surgery on Sunday morning and took to Twitter afterwards to thank well-wishers at the club for their support. He said: “I’ll be back better and stronger in every way.”

Crichlow was grateful to City’s senior players and staff for comforting team-mates who were left distressed by the incident at the time.

Liam Ridehalgh, Richie Smallwood and goalkeeping coach Colin Doyle rallied to check the rest of the side were okay.

"You could see from the reaction of a lot involved - me especially - that I was visibly upset,” added Crichlow.

“Credit to the older lads who got around us boys and said, 'We will do this for Manny now'.

“We didn't get the three points but we put on a good performance in respect for him.”

Crichlow was blown away by the “unbelievable and wicked” atmosphere at Valley Parade for the season opener.

But he admits there is plenty to work on after City failed to get past Doncaster’s defensive approach in the goalless draw.

"It is a tough one. When a team sets up shop like that from minute one, it is a tough thing to break down.

“We are a team who likes the ball a lot, so it wasn't an alien thing for us to have that. For them to have every man behind the ball was difficult to break and we just couldn't get the goal.

“We have got a lot to improve on but can take a lot of positives and we just crack on really.

"It was an incredible atmosphere which I won’t forget for a long time and they were behind us every step of the way.

"You could feel it in the stadium with the excitement behind us. When we attacked, we could feel it.

“It is an exciting time for everyone. We are only just getting started and it was the first game in a long season.

"There's a lot of experience in our team and players who have played at good levels and been involved in good teams.

"It's about them passing on knowledge to us younger boys who have maybe not done it or are new to it.

"The expectations are high, we know that and we have our expectations about ourselves. We know what we are trying to achieve and have got to work towards it."