Neil Aspin admitted the injury to Lee Gregory just added to FC Halifax Town’s woes after their 1-0 defeat at Braintree.
Town’s run of away league games without a win was extended to nine after a scrappy game in Essex, but that was overshadowed by Gregory’s injury, which Aspin confirmed appears to be a repeat of the broken hand he sustained earlier in the season.
He said: “It looks like it and he’s probably the one player you don’t want to lose.
“We’ve brought Joe (Ironside) into the club and it gives him an opportunity to step up and he’s got to do the job.
“It’s a big blow there’s no doubt about it.
“He’s not had a lot of service today, he’s had to fight and scrap.
“The pitch was difficult but he still controlled things and helped bring people into play, so he’ll be hard to replace.
“There’s an opportunity for everybody at the club and they’ve got to come in and do the job.”
The Town boss said his side deserved something from the match, and admitted his side face a tough time ahead without their talismanic striker.
He said: “We didn’t deserve to lose the game but it wasn’t a very good game.
“It was scrappy, not many chances and unfortunately we’ve made a mistake and given the goal away.
“It’s bad enough to lose the game but then to lose your top-scorer, obviously he’s going to be out for a while, makes it really difficult.
“You couldn’t get much of a worse day but that’s football, we’ve got to pick ourselves up and get on with it.
“It’s going to be a battle and we’re certainly going to be tested now over the next few weeks.
Braintree’s goal came from a penalty by captain Kenny Davis after defender Marc Roberts had fouled striker Sean Marks in the Town box.
The Shay chief conceded the referee made the right call, but wasn’t happy with the official’s overall performance.
He added: “It was a bad mistake, I’ve no complaints about that decision.
“I have plenty of complaints about a lot of the other free-kicks.
“I’ve never, ever seen a game with so many free-kicks for nothing.
“It was a poor game to start with made worse by all the constant stoppages.
“I think of the first seven free-kicks, six went against us for virtually nothing.
“Having said that, we need to do better. I give Braintree credit, I thought they defended well and they handled us from set-pieces.
“I’m not taking anything away from any opposition who beat us, I’m not a bad loser, but it wasn’t a very good game and it’s obviously compounded by the injury to Lee Gregory.”