DION Conroy has been ruled out for the season by Swindon Town manager Richie Wellens, just days after the central defender and club captain started his in-house rehabilitation work.

Conroy is back in Wiltshire after spending time out at his parents’ home, and is now working on a return to full fitness with club physios after he was freed from his crutches in November.

The 24-year-old suffered a horrendous setback in September when a 50-50 challenge with Newport County skipper Joss Labadie concluded in the ex-Chelsea man tearing his medial collateral ligament (MCL).

It was feared at the time that Conroy’s knock could keep him out for the majority of Town’s 2019-20 campaign.

And Wellens confirmed news fans didn’t want to hear to the Adver on Saturday.

He said: “My mindset is that Dion Conroy will be out for the season.

“He is back training, and it’s nice for him to back in the group, but he won’t be fit for this season.

“He’s started his rehabilitation and has a long road ahead of him. But, he won’t be on the grass for another two or three months – even then it will take him time for him to get up to speed.”

Conroy missing the rest of the season wasn’t the only bad touch for the club on Saturday.

A physical Newport County outfit defeat Town 2-0 at Rodney Parade on an appalling pitch that wouldn’t be out of place on the local Sunday League circuit.

Newport-based rugby union team Dragons were in European Challenge Cup action less than 24 hours before kick-off – leaving the pitch in an understandably poor state.

Regardless, Michael Flynn’s Newport outwitted a bullied Town XI – who registered only one shot on target despite holding the majority of the game’s possession.

Assessing the game, Wellens said: “We tried to go long ball throughout the whole game, because you cannot physically play.

“Our long balls were too short – we never turned them. Every time Newport booted the ball upfield, we had to turn and face our own goal and put the ball out for throw ins.

“Their clearances were better than ours, we tried to do exactly the same. Our clearances just weren’t good enough.

“We won’t ever play like this again, so I take no encouragement from the last half-an-hour. I asked my players to do something totally alien.

“I congratulate Newport, we have to move on.”