Southend boss Paul Sturrock is fearing a defensive crisis as the games come thick and fast for his promotion chasers.
With injuries already to defender Chris Barker and Mark Phillips, the dismissal of centre-half Ryan Cresswell in the 1-1 draw at Accrington has added to his woes.
"It's exasperating," said Sturrock. "We will now miss Ryan for three games and we already have injuries. We have to try and bring people in but the positions we need them in changes every game.
"We have massive games with Cheltenham, Northampton and Leyton Orient in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy and we will have to change it around again.
"Ryan is one of our rocks at the back and Chris and Mark are two key defenders who are missing with injuries. It will be a makeshift side we put together for some big matches."
Sturrock had no complaints with the sending-off, though, after Cresswell tangled with Stanley scorer James Gray near the dugouts as they jumped for a header.
"Ryan got an elbow in the face and then it was a rush of blood and he grabbed the lad and you can't do that," said the Scot.