Fleetwood Town have been rocked by the news David Ball faces up to four months on the sidelines with a fractured leg.The Cod Army striker picked up a nasty gash in the loss to MK Dons at the end of October and missed the games against Preston and Gillingham as a result.
A subsequent scan of the former Manchester City trainee's injury has shown a serious problem which could keep the 24-year-old out until March.
"Following on from the injury Bally [David Ball] sustained at MK Dons, he has had a scan which has revealed he has got a fracture in the side of his leg," boss Graham Alexander told Fleetwood's official website.
"He is currently in a medical boot and he will be out for between three and four months. It is bad news for Bally and for the team because he has been quality for the last 18 months.
"He scored twice in his last two games before sustaining the injury. It is a blow for us all."
Ball had scored in the previous two games he played against Doncaster and the Dons before sustaining the injury.
Alexander added: "Bally scored a great goal against Doncaster and followed it up with a superb finish away at MK Dons by chipping the goalkeeper. We know the quality he has and he actually sustained the injury trying to score.
"He is a brave player and he was trying to win the ball in the opposition penalty box. In the process, he took a bad kick in the side of his leg and it resulted in him picking up a bad injury.
"It is a difficult one to take as he has worked so hard to help the team win promotion last season. He wanted to give League One a right good shot and he has scored three goals so far.
"When we found out the extent of Bally's injury we were all devastated but we know his fighting qualities. He sustained a couple of injuries last season and he came back from them well. We expect the same to happen this time around.
"He is a strong character and he will come back from this. He will use his time off positively to build himself back up and he will be stronger from this setback.
"We look forward to the day we welcome him back into the team; I am sure he will come back better than ever."
Alexander lost another striker when Jamille Matt suffered a season-ending leg injury over the summer.
Liam McAlinden was last week recalled from Wolves too so the Cod Army elected to bring in MK Dons loanee Tom Hitchcock, and he scored three minutes into his debut in the 1-0 victory over the Gills last weekend.