Hartlepool United have sent winger Nathan Thomas to see a specialist to diagnose the extent of his groin problem.
But the fears are that the 22-year-old top-scorer could be out for a number of weeks, rather than days.
Pools have decided to get a second opinion on the issue, which saw Thomas withdrawn midway through the second half of last weekend’s 3-2 loss to Barnet.
And manager Craig Hignett has confirmed his seven-goal talisman will be absent for this weekend’s FA Cup tie with Stamford at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.
But the gaffer stopped short of putting a time-frame on Thomas’s return.
Instead he is waiting on the assessment of medical professionals before pencilling in a game for Thomas to target.
Hignett said: “We will wait and see a specialist.
“He will miss a few weeks but we will see what the specialist says.
“There is absolutely no doubt that we will miss him.”
Rather than dwell on the negative, which is easily done given Pools’ current predicament, Hignett instead sees this as the perfect opportunity for one of his other talented squad members to step up to the plate.
The gaffer continued: “Nath is a big player for us – we know how much he will be missed, but this is an opportunity for someone else to come in and stake a claim
“A few of our players are easily capable of stepping in and holding a place, not just for one game but for weeks.
“We want them to do that.
“Woodsy (Michael Woods), Dev (Nicky Deverdics), Jake Orrell – they all knocking on the door.
“Bradley Fewster, when he is back, will have a chance. He is not far away.”
Elsewhere on the injury front, Hignett says the progress of both Matthew Bates and Rob Jones has been positive.
The defensive duo have both trained with the first-team squad this week.
As a result, the door is open for both to return on Sunday.
“They have trained with us,” Hignett said of the pair.
“Rob has trained all week. Batesy has too.
“It is just about getting them games in their legs. They are not too far off.”
The know-how Bates and Jones could bring to Pools’ backline would be a big boost to the side, according to Hignett.
The gaffer admits he has been deeply frustrated with the club’s defensive woes.
But he is loathe to criticise his players, especially given the lack of experience in his ranks.
“We are a young side, really quiet and there’s not many leaders in there,” he said.
“But we have to learn, It’s OK doing it one week, but making mistakes week after week after week, it’s got to sink in and if it doesn’t then they have to come out of it.
“How long do you give them?
“We are a learning club and I want us to learn and develop.
“I want to make sure things are positive and players are learning, but I will keep coaching because that’s how I am.
“People will look at last week and see we lost again – if you were here you realise it’s not like that. It gets boring thinking saying the same thing, but that’s how it us.”