Oldham Athletic have been hit with a hammer blow with news of injury to Stefan Stam.
The talented 26-year-old Dutchman has been in imperious form of late having emerged as a key player in the club's run of just one defeat in their last 11 games.
Stam hobbled off against Cheltenham at the weekend during Oldham's 2-1 victory after falling awkwardly and damaging ankle ligaments.
Having left the field on crutches Stam now faces upto eight weeks on the sidelines, with Latics chief John Sheridan admitting he will have to move quickly to fill the void.
Sheridan is now left with just two fit central defenders in the form of Will Haining and the inexperienced Neal Trotman, aware that a loan swoop is his only option
"His leg was very swollen and he was in a fair bit of pain," Sheridan told the Manchester Evening News.
"We don't have much cover and I will have to look at bringing someone in on loan."
Meanwhile, Kelvin Lomax has been rewarded for breaking into Oldham's first team by having his contract extended by a further three months, until February 2007.
The young full back was released by Ronnie Moore in the summer but when he was replaced at the Boundary Park helm by Sheridan, Lomax was given a reprieve.