Saunders undergoes knee surgery

Brentford winger Sam Saunders faces an extended spell on the sidelines after having exploratory knee surgery.

The 30-year-old, who has missed the Bees' last five matches, had keyhole surgery on his right knee on Tuesday in a bid to resolve an injury which has affected him for the past two months.

"Sam began having knee symptoms over the heavy Christmas games period and was still being troubled by this during the Port Vale game in early January," Brentford head of medical Neil Greig told the club's official website.

"Our initial investigations suggested that the condition would resolve with appropriate rest and treatment, however despite Sam's best efforts, he has been unable to progress back to training at his usual high levels.

"Given the lack of progress and after consultation with a leading orthopaedic knee specialist, the decision has been taken to explore the knee via a minor keyhole procedure, with the aim of rectifying Sam's niggling issue and returning him for the important run of games towards the end of the season.

"I have no doubt that Sam will return fitter and stronger than ever, given his fantastic attitude and work ethic, and we will offer him every support possible in order to do so."

Saunders has played a key role in the Bees' promotion push this season and was named League One player of the month for December.