Manager Paul Tisdale admits losing John O'Flynn to injury at the start of the season has played a crucial part in Exeter's stuttering form.
The Irishman had been earmarked as the striker to lead the line after Jamie Cureton's departure to Leyton Orient over the summer, but Tisdale's plans were rocked when O'Flynn had to undergo knee surgery.
Fellow striker Guillem Bauza has since struggled with injury, Nicholas Bignall has returned to Reading due to a knee problem and Daniel Nardiello was recently suspended.
Tisdale told the Western Morning News: "Without question he is our biggest miss. His job is to lead the line and we have not had that.
"Strikers have their capabilities and their strengths and that is his. He is selfless and he provides space for others to run into. He has been our biggest loss.
"He has only had a week's training and hasn't played for five months. It's a long time and it's a lot to expect him to come straight back in. He may have to feature more than we would like him to do."