Rochdale defender Rory McArdle will miss the start of the season due to injury.
McArdle dislocated his shoulder in a pre-season friendly against Radcliffe in midweek.
The 22-year-old faces up to two months on the sidelines and Rochdale boss Keith Hill admitted it was a major blow to lose the defender.
"The news on Rory McArdle is particularly bad - he's going to be out for between eight and 12 weeks," Hill told the Rochdale Observer.
"What was already a thin squad becomes even thinner, but it does provide an opportunity for the likes of Craig Dawson, Marcus Holness and even Chris Brown, from our youth team, to impress.
"It's a massive blow and leaves us with just 16 outfield players.
"We do not have the finances to replace a player of Rory's calibre and I suppose the only positive to take from this is the fact we have four games in which to experiment and find the right defensive pairing to start against Port Vale."