OXFORD United are coming to terms with the news they will be without captain Curtis Nelson for the rest of the season.

A scan yesterday confirmed the centre back had ruptured his Achilles tendon, with the 24-year-old set to undergo surgery later this week.

Nelson was stretchered off following an innocuous-looking challenge during the first half of United’s defeat to Northampton Town on Saturday.

The defender has been an ever-present member of the U’s squad since signing from Plymouth Argyle in July last year.

And manager Pep Clotet is disappointed to find out his side will be without their captain for the remainder of the Sky Bet League One campaign.

He said: “It is a blow for us, but also obviously a huge blow for Curtis who was playing so well and has been a fantastic captain for us this year.

“It was clear straight away that he was struggling and the scan shows a full rupture, which at least means it is very clear what we are dealing with and the time scales involved.

“We have a fantastic medical team here and Curtis is a great professional, so I am sure he will do all that is required and come back stronger than ever.”

Nelson, who is in the final year of his contract, has made 62 appearances for United.

His 60th game recently triggered a final payment to Plymouth, who were eligible for compensation due to the defender being under 24 when he turned down a contract at Home Park, which totalled a fee of £280,000.

With Mike Williamson injured, John Mousinho and Aaron Martin are United's only fit centre backs, but Charlie Raglan has started training with the first team after suffering an ankle injury in pre-season.

Midfielder Joe Rothwell admits the U’s will miss Nelson.

He said: “It’s a blow, losing a player like Curtis, he’s our captain, our leader.

"We wish him a speedy recovery.”