Joey Barton wants one of his Fleetwood Town youngsters to stake a claim with Jason Holt set to miss the majority of their remaining games.
The Rangers loanee was stretchered off with a knee injury just 14 minutes into Town’s 1-0 win over Accrington Stanley last time out.
The midfielder is ruled out of today’s clash with Southend United as Town aim to cut the eight-point gap on sixth-placed Doncaster Rovers and end the season on a high.
“He is going to struggle,” Barton said of Holt.
“He had the scan this week and it looks like it is the end of his season.
“He has been great for us in and around the dressing room and a top professional
“For us to lose his energy and his personality out of our team is a big loss for us.
“His misfortune is an opportunity for somebody else to stake a claim.
“We are at that stage of the season where we cannot afford to feel sorry for ourselves.
“We are disappointed for Jase but, if we sulk for one game, that puts paid to our play-off ambitions.
“It gives us an opportunity to look at somebody else and for them to stake a claim.”
Barton would not reveal what the injury is, saying: “I’m out of my pay grade here.
“You are better off asking the physios.
“He got stretchered off in the game and it looked to me like medial ligament damage but I don’t want to give a prognosis on that because I will probably be wrong and end up having to retract it!
“I know a lot of things about a lot of things but physiotherapy is not one of those things.”