Gus Poyet fears that Craig Mackail-Smith will miss the rest of the season after suffering a serious Achilles tendon injury.

The Seagulls boss may have been disappointed with a goalless draw at the npower Championship's bottom club Bristol City but was instead pre-occupied by the injury that forced his striker from the field.

Mackail-Smith went down sharply when breaking away from Liam Fontaine's challenge just before the interval and immediately signalled for attention.

Poyet said: "It looks bad. Craig could be out for two or three months so his season may be over. I don't like the emergency loan system, but I am not so stupid that I won't use it as we are now very short of strikers. I'll start looking for a new striker. It was meant to be my day off, but now I expect to spend most of it on the phone."

Brighton failed to force a single save from City keeper Tom Heaton and Poyet admitted: "It is not a game I shall be watching again. The result is everything. We couldn't pass the ball on the night and didn't play well, but we did the basics right to get a precious point."

City created what few chances there were in a grim struggle, going closest when Brendan Moloney's second-half shot was deflected wide.

Home boss Sean O'Driscoll said: "The players gave everything and no one would have known which team were bottom and which battling for promotion. We have now kept successive clean sheets in goalless games with good sides. That is a big change from earlier in the season and the players have taken on board what I have asked of them.

"We now need that bit of extra quality, but if we keep on showing that level of commitment we will have a chance of surviving in the Championship. Perhaps I could have introduced my attacking substitutes a bit earlier, but we are not the finished article by any means and didn't want to lose the game 1-0 after such a big effort by the players."

A dull first half saw City create all the chances. Cole Skuse had two shots blocked after 15 minutes and Tomasz Kuszczak had to save from Paul Anderson and Liam Kelly. City continued to look the more threatening side at the start of the second half, with Anderson and Kelly shooting over from distance.

Then Moloney let fly from 20 yards and saw his low effort deflected inches past a post with Kuszczak rooted to the spot. Brighton huffed and puffed without being able to penetrate a home side who battled for every ball.