Exeter City midfielder Matt Oakley could be out for around a month after injuring his thigh in a 0-0 draw with Aldershot on Saturday.
The former Leicester and Derby County midfielder has been one of the first names on the Paul Tisdale's team sheet this season, starting 28 of Exeter' Citys 30 league games this campaign and coming on as a substitute in the other two.
His injury news will come as a massive blow to manager Paul Tisdale who has already lost Liam Sercombe (broken ankle) and John O'Flynn (hamstring) to lengthy lay-offs in the past five weeks.
"He (Matt Oakley) will be out for a while," said Tisdale. "He will be out for a few weeks at least and that will be a big loss for us as it is another midfield player. Most teams have gone through January and tried to strengthen their squad and it seems we have weakened really.
"We had the signing of Mark Molesley, but with Liam Sercombe, John O'Flynn and now Matt all dropping out it has proved to be quite a hard hitting month for us in terms of our squad. We have certianly been weakened by those injuries."
Tisdale added that there would be little chance of going into the loan market, when it reopens, to plug the gap.
"It is not an option," he said. "I would have strengthened in January if I had had the financial opportunity. There is no point grumbling about it. We have got good enough players to play, it is just the depth of the squad that has been weakened."