JAMIE Milligan's knee problem is the most worrying of a series of injuries afflicting Fleetwood Town ahead of tomorrow's visit to Mansfield.
Their wounded pride also needs some nursing after a defeat at Forest Green Rovers which manager Micky Mellon put down to a lack of quality in the final third.
Mellon admitted to being somewhat baffled by Milligan's injury.
The manager said: "We are a bit worried about Milligan's knee. He keeps breaking down in training and we've had it scanned. We are waiting on news but it's not looking massively positive."
Milligan had been training hard to get up to speed since his return to Fleetwood and full-time football in November following four months with AFC Fylde.
Defender Paul Linwood, who also missed the defeat in Gloucestershire with a knee injury, faces a further three or four weeks on the sidelines, according to Mellon, who also lost full-back Junior Brown to a second-half ankle injury and has winger Jamie Mullen unavailable because of an abductor problem.
But Mellon was looking for no excuses on Saturday, admitting his side lacked creativity where it mattered most.
"We are very disappointed because whenever we got into decent positions we never showed enough quality to create anywhere near enough chances," he said.
"We probably dominated pretty much all the game but without creating enough chances.
"We didn't make the most of good crossing positions or didn't beat the first man or maybe didn't get enough movement in the box.
"In the final third we never showed anywhere near enough devilment or quality to win.
They have had one chance in 90 minutes but that's no consolation to us.
"We have to be better when we get into certain situations in both halves and we never showed the quality or the composure to create."
Mellon's squad returned to training this morning ahead of tomorrow's rearranged visit to Mansfield, who have picked up form since losing 3-0 at Highbury in August.
"A quick turnaround is what you want after a defeat, so you can react as quickly as possible.
"We will watch the DVD and work on the stuff we need to, particularly in the final third." Linwood's absence forced Mellon to change a back four which had kept successive clean sheets and meant a recall for club captain Steve McNulty, who shared his manager's disappointment.
The centre-half said: "These are the games we need to come and win. The ones you should win and are meant to win are always hardest."
"But it won't be difficult to pick ourselves up. There's not much wrong but we aren't getting the rub of the green and haven't had the cutting edge in the final third. You can have all the possession in the world but you have to turn it into goals."
Mellon and McNulty agreed that debutant George Donnelly will prove an excellent acquisition for the club.
George will be a top player, no doubt about that," said the manager.
"It will take time for him to get to know his team-mates but that was a great effort which hit the bar."
McNulty added: "It was tough on George because he'd only really had about half a day's training with the lads (before his debut) but he is going to be a great player. We need to consolidate and kick on now, and to make the play-offs would be great."
Interviews: DAVID MITCHELL
*TOWN have named a strong squad for tonight's Reserves cup tie against Formby at Highbury (7.45pm, admission 2).
Town: Hurst, Cavanagh, Sumner, Duggan, Grand, Miles, Rogan, Pond, Connors, Curtis, Rowe, Wynn, Camozzi, Bennett ,Christensen, Tanser.