Jak Alnwick’s injury could force Blackpool boss Simon Grayson into the transfer market for another goalkeeper.
The 26-year-old could be facing as long as 12 weeks on the sidelines after he undergoes surgery on his injured bicep.
Alnwick suffered the injury during the Boxing Day defeat to Accrington Stanley.
The incident looked innocuous enough at the time, Alnwick sustaining the problem as he got down to save Dion Charles’ low effort.
The on-loan Rangers man attempted to shake off the knock and continue but was eventually forced to withdraw on the half-hour mark.
Since then, he’s missed the games against Tranmere Rovers and Rotherham United, with Mark Howard coming into the fold to make his first league appearances for the club since March.
“He’s seeing the specialist on Thursday and is booked in to have an operation on Friday,” Grayson told The Gazette after Blackpool’s defeat at Rotherham.
“Potentially we’re talking 12 weeks, which is obviously a big injury for him to suffer. We have to deal with that situation and it might mean we need another goalkeeper now.”
When asked if the club might look to cut short his deal to free up another loan spot, Grayson added: “I think Rangers are happy for him to do their rehab with us, he’s settled in his house on the Fylde coast so I would expect him to be with us for the rest of the season still.”
Prior to Alnwick’s injury, the shot-stopper had played every minute of every league game for the Seasiders.
The club was also thought to be in discussions with Rangers about making the loan deal a permanent one during this month’s transfer window.
With Howard, Christoffer Mafoumbi and Jack Sims already on the books, there is no need to rush in bringing another keeper to Bloomfield Road.
Nevertheless, Grayson maintains it is something the Seasiders will continue to monitor in the coming weeks.
“We’ll see on that situation,” he said.
“Mark has been in goal for the last couple of games and we’ll take stock of that after the weekend.
“We’ve got Mark, Jack Sims and Christoffer Mafoumbi who might need some first-team football somewhere.
“If he does leave we’ll probably go and get another goalkeeper, but these are all things we will address on a daily basis.”
With Rocky Bushiri having his loan deal from Norwich City cut short, that frees up another possible spot for the Seasiders to use.
When asked if that’s an avenue they will look to explore, Grayson said: “Who knows?
“We’re trying to bring permanents in, we’re trying to bring loans in, we’re just working extremely hard.
“We have a game at the weekend and after that we don’t play for another two weeks unless we get a replay.
“That gives me the opportunity, the owner (Simon Sadler) and (chief executive) Ben Mansford to analyse what we need and where we’re going to go with things.”