Southend have suffered a huge double blow with the news Jean-Paul Kalala and Liam Dickinson will both miss the rest of the season.
Midfielder Kalala has had his worst fears realised after the injury he suffered 11 days ago against Morecambe was confirmed as cruciate ligament damage while he also fractured his knee.
It comes as striker Dickinson, the Shrimpers' leading scorer this season with 10 league goals, is also ruled out long-term with a broken ankle sustained in Monday's 0-0 draw at home to Crawley.
Dickinson now faces between four and five months on the sidelines and will undergo surgery on Monday.
It will not be known exactly how long Kalala will be out for until after his operation this weekend.
Manager Paul Sturrock will now consider his options in the loan market as his third-placed side aim to seal promotion over the remaining 11 games of the season.