Chris Hughton has admitted a minimum two-month absence for Steve Sidwell is “a real disappointment”.

The midfielder is facing a period on the sidelines after undergoing successful minor surgery this week to alleviate a recurring back injury.

But there was better news in attack with Tomer Hemed and Glenn Murray both expected to be available to face unbeaten West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

Sidwell was not initially expected to be absent for a prolonged period but Hughton confirmed today he would be out for at least two months.

He also revealed how the ex-Reading man’s presence in the squad dissuaded Albion from making a midfield signing when Beram Kayal suffered a broken leg last month.

Hughton told The Argus: “We’re certainly looking at a couple of months.

“It’s a blow firstly for him. He’s a valuable member of our squad, particularly in that midfield area with Kayal being out.

“When we lost Kayal, we thought about whether we should bring somebody in but our thinking was very much we had good numbers in there, with Steve Sidwell being one of them.

“That’s a disappointment but we can work around that.

“Pascal (Gross) is primarily a midfield player who has played a little bit more advanced and Izzy Brown is back shortly but it’s a real disappointment.”

Murray trained today after recovering from ankle injury and Hemed is set to feature after missing Israel’s game in Italy on Tuesday with a minor thigh strain.