CARDIFF defender Sol Bamba has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering knee ligament damage.

Bamba suffered the injury during the 2-0 Premier League defeat at Wolves on Saturday and will undergo surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament.

“Unfortunately our biggest fears have been confirmed regarding the injury Sol suffered at Wolves on Saturday,” Cardiff manager Neil Warnock told the official club website.

“Scans have shown that Sol has ruptured his ACL; he will have an operation on Wednesday and therefore miss the rest of the season.

“It is a major blow to the squad but I know all of our supporters will join me in wishing him the very best during his recovery.”

Bamba’s absence for the final nine games of the season is a huge blow to Cardiff’s hopes of catching Saints and staying in the top flight.

The 34-year-old Ivory Coast international, who has played for Hibernian, Leeds and Leicester among other clubs, has been a talisman since joining Cardiff in October 2016.

Bamba played a key role as the Bluebirds won promotion from the Sky Bet Championship last season and has missed just one league game this term.

He scored Cardiff’s first goal in their shock 2-1 win against Saints last month.

Cardiff occupy the final relegation spot and are two points adrift of Saints after conceding ten goals in three defeats since winning at St Mary’s.