Mansfield Town midfield ace Alex MacDonald has suffered a setback in his bid for fitness.
MacDonald returned to training after a knee operation on an injury sustained at Cambridge in mid-September.
But he has had to pull out with another problem and outside hopes of having him available for this weekend’s FA Cup tie are over.
“Macca has had a slight setback,” said boss David Flitcroft. “He had come back into training for a couple of days and he was flying.
“But he has just tweaked something else in his other knee, which can happen when you have been out that long so you over-compensate on the injury you’re trying to protect.
“He’s had a scan and it’s not serious at all. We are just settling him down. It’s set him back a couple of weeks.
“We are all gutted he won’t be involved in this FA Cup weekend.
“But we don’t want to rush it or the injury becomes prolonged.
“We hope to have him back on the training ground in a week now but, if I’m honest, from all the work we’d been doing with him we thought he’d be involved on Sunday.”
The club are having to keep a lid on the players’ enthusiasm to return for his own good.
“The most difficult thing with Macca is holding him back. We can’t keep the reins on this guy,” smiled Flitcroft.
“Football is his life and having him on the training ground for a couple of days last week you could just feel the energy go up and enthusiasm levels go up. He gives everyone a lift and it was brilliant to have him.”