Hartlepool United skipper Liam Noble has been ruled out for four to six weeks with a calf strain.
The Pools midfielder, who has 12 goals this season, picked up the problem in the warm up for the Boxing Day defeat at Gateshead - but has played through the pain barrier in the festive period.
This week, though, the player has been forced to face up to facts and will sit out at least a month with the issue.
Richard Money admits it's a blow to the side, but he has hinted he may shape slightly in light of former Notts County man Noble's injury, which could result in Mark Kitching being pushed into midfield.
"Noble has picked up a calf injury and he felt it at Gateshead when I felt he might come off," said Money.
"He felt it in the warm up and played and come through the last few games, but it’s got progressively worse. He was scanned on Tuesday and he could be four to six weeks out.
"We need to make a change in there. Danny (Amos) will come into consideration. Apart from that not too many changes."
Noble has been an integral figure for Pools since signing on a free in the summer. He has made 30 appearances.