Rotherham United will be without midfielder Darren Potter for the busiest period of their League One campaign.
The 10th-placed Millers face four matches in 10 days over the hectic festive period, but Potter will play no part in any of them because of his achilles problem.
Another key man, Jon Taylor, is also poised to miss out, although there is a chance that the winger, who has a knee problem, could be back in contention for the New Year’s Day clash with Blackburn Rovers.
Rotherham are at home to MK Dons tomorrow, then travel to Bury on Boxing Day and to Walsall on December 30, before rounding off their Christmas schedule against Rovers at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
“Potter is going to be another couple of weeks,” said manager Paul Warne. “He has a bit of soreness and bruising on his bone.
“He is seeing a specialist but I will probably be without him until the New Year. There are four games in 10 days so I could do with him.”
The summer signing, who turned 33 yesterday, hasn’t played since limping out of the clash at Bristol Rovers on December 2.
Taylor’s last action was against Doncaster Rovers well over a month ago, but he is close to a return to full training.
“He was running today (Thursday) on the kind of treadmill which takes your body weight out of the equation,” said Warne. “He was on 80 per cent body weight. That means on Friday he can go out on the grass.
“He’s been out for quite a while, so he probably needs at least a week out on the grass. From there, I’ll try to bring him in gradually. Boxing Day is too soon.
I”n the last few weeks, his knee has swollen when he’s done something. But now he looks like he’s through that. We’re hopeful this will be the end of it.”
Meanwhile, the Millers are ready to let young centre-half Manny Onariase go out on loan in the January transfer window.
League Two Cheltenham Town, where Onariase spent a temporary spell when he was on Brentford’s books, is a possible destination.
“Nothing has been cemented on that yet,” said Warne. “I know he has played there before.
“He does need to play game,s so I am open to the idea of him going out.
“Players will possibly go out but nothing has been done yet.”
Onariase, aged 21, joined the Millers in the summer, although he has yet to make his league debut for them.
Tomorrow’s New York showdown against the Dons pits the Millers against old boy Kieran Agard.
The striker didn’t open his account for the season until November 18 but has scored six times in his last six outings.