Colchester United have been dealt a blow in their attempt to move clear of the Championship's drop-zone after it was revealed that Mark Yeates may not play again this season.
The midfielder injured his shoulder in the 2-2 draw with Sheffield United earlier this month and could now need surgery.
U's manager Geraint Williams told the Essex Gazette: "He's being assessed but we think he'll need an operation because Mark said himself it isn't quite right.
"He felt he might be letting the lads down if he played and he wasn't quite right. It's edging towards needing the operation.
"We'll be talking on the phone and enquiring who's available because Mark's been very important for us this year.
"Going forward, he's a big part of our attacking armoury with his set-piece deliveries."