ACCRINGTON Stanley boss John Coleman has been dealt a blow as captain Peter Cavanagh could be sidelined for three months.
The 26-year-old has been out of action as he recovers from a hernia operation but he went under the knife on his troublesome Achilles last week.
It means Coleman may have to do more wheeling and dealing when the January transfer window opens next month.
He has already said he wanted a number of new signings - including a centre half - but may up the ante with injuries and suspensions due to kick in in the next month.
They face a busy New Year period travelling to struggling Mansfield tomorrow (Saturday) and then the Reds will be expecting a huge crowd when Bradford City come to the FES on New Year’s Day.
They are two winnable games but it has been a stop-start season for the mid-table Reds with just four points out of the last 18, prior to Boxing Day.
And Coleman and co will also be bracing themselves as there could be some bids for some of his big players when the window opens next Tuesday.
Paul Mullin’s contract is up at the end of the season and there has been at least one enquiry for the hitman, who scored in the 2-1 loss to Shrewsbury on Saturday.
He has the record number of appearances for the Reds and is the top scorer this season with nine goals.
And midfielder Jay Harris has been impressive and a number of clubs are said to be tracking the former Everton trainee.
Paul Carden has returned to the club from his loan spell at Cambridge with a tug-of-war expected to go on for loan man Ian Craney between the Reds and League Two high-fliers Peterborough.
And building up to a busy next month, Stanley will be hoping to get points on the board and continue their decent away record - although they have not won at Mansfield.
The Stags are in the relegation spots but the Reds will have to beware Michael Boulding who is one of the league’s top scorers with 13 goals this season.
Then Bradford City boss Stuart McCall will be in the mood for revenge on Tuesday after his side were thumped by Stanley 3-0, in one of the Reds’ best performances of the season.
* Stanley’s Benin international Rommy Boco was due to link up with the squad in Tunisia this week ahead of the African Cup of Nations.
They kick off on January 20 in Ghana with Benin in Group B with Nigeria, the Ivory Coast and Mali.
* JOHN Coleman would not talk to the Observer after we set up a web poll asking if readers thought he was the right man to take the club forward.