Hull City captain Ian Ashbee, a mainstay Tiger since 2002, faces a further nine months on the sidelines as he continues to struggle with a complex posterior ligament injury, according to Sky Sports News.

The 32-year-old midfielder, who impressed throughout the last Premier League last season along with in-demand defender Michael Turner, sustained the injury in May, during a domestic fixture against Midlands outfit Aston Villa.

He had been pencilled in to make a return to first-team action in the middle of September, with a view to regular appearances in October, but his rehabilitation program has since been revised as he will be undergoing surgery in order to remedy the issue.

Hull recently lost to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the introductory game of the 2009-10 Premier League season. Manager Phil Brown fielded a five-man midfield, with George Boateng impressing.

Alan Dawson,