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By ESPN Staff

Birmingham striker Benitez forced to fly home

Birmingham striker Cristian Benitez could miss this weekend's trip to Burnley after his father was involved in a serious accident in Ecuador.

The 23-year-old has been given permission by the club to return home on compassionate grounds and is unlikely to be back for Saturday's Premier League game at Turf Moor.

Benitez had been due to fly home after the game anyway to report for international duty.

Manager Alex McLeish said: ''We are aware of the bad news concerning Christian's father and had no hesitation in granting him permission to travel home.

''We are deeply concerned for his father's welfare but understand that his injuries are not as serious as first thought and we send him our blessings and wish him a speedy recovery. There is a doubt as to whether Christian will be back in time for our fixture against Burnley on Saturday.''

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