Jeff Hendrick admits Burnley will miss best pal Robbie Brady.
But he feels the squad will make up for his absence, with the winger set to miss the rest of the season with a ruptured patellar tendon.
The pair have grown up together, playing for St Kevin’s Boys back in Ireland, playing through all the age groups together before representing the Republic on the senior stage.
Hendrick has spoken to Brady after his bad news, and expects him to come back stronger.
He said: “I’ve spoken to him a few times. He was gutted with the injury but he’s got the operation done and now he can look forward to the recovery and getting himself right.
”He knows it’s going to be a good few months but he’s focused on getting himself back fit, stronger and ready to go.
“It’s definitely going to be a blow. You can see, especially in his last few performances, the confidence and the way he was playing.
”He was getting on the ball, he scored a lovely goal against Bournemouth, and he was setting up chances.
”It is going to be a blow, we’re all gutted for him, and we hope he gets better. But for us it’s all about moving on to the next game.
”Somebody has got to step up and be ready to play. We’ve got a good group of players training hard every day and somebody has got to fill his boots now. “
Brady remains in good spirits: “He’s got a one-line jokes, he’s got good stories, he sits beside me, we have a laugh, so he’s definitely going to be a miss.
”But we’ve got to focus on the game we’ve got (Watford). It is sad news but we’ll still have him around and he lives beside me so I can get him to tell me a few jokes back home. We’ve just got to get on with it now.”
Brady is surrounded by his Irish teammates at Burnley, with Stephen Ward, Jon Walters and Kevin Long also at the club, and Hendrick added: “I hope it does help. It can be tough and at times you can feel out of the loop a little bit.
”You don’t see it coming, but sometimes you can frustrated. So it is good for him to have us around.
”There’s a few of us who live close by so we will make sure we drop him and see him, and spend some time with him, and hopefully that will make his injury period go by a bit quicker.
“I’ve spoke to him, he knows what he’s got to do, he doesn’t seem too down. He was gutted to get the injury, but he quickly moved on, and was focused on getting the surgery and getting himself right. He is strong mentally so I’m sure he will be okay.”