Boston United face a race against time to get defender Nat Brown match fit for the start of the season.
The 35-year-old centre back has seen less than 90 minutes of pre-season action after picking up a thigh injury.
Manager Dennis Greene has made no secret of the fact he wants Brown to captain his National League North side, joining Joe Maguire in the heart of defence to allow Herve Pepe-Ngoma to play in his favoured defensive midfield role.
But first he has to get the former Lincoln City and Maclesfield Town man fit.
“Nat should hopefully be available soon,” Greene told The Standard. “Maybe not Saturday but probably Tuesday.
“That’s pre-season, heat, whatever it might be. You try to get them right, with minutes on the pitch, and you get knocks and niggles.
“Hopefully, come the start of the season, we’ll be repaired.”
Brown - who officially joined the club this summer from Lincoln City after ending the previous campaign on loan from the Red Imps - played the second half of Boston’s opening pre-season contest, the 4-0 victory at Boston Town.
But just 31 minutes into the 1-1 draw with Peterborough United he was forced to leave the field injured.
Brown has been unable to train and sat out the past three warm-up games.
Saturday’s trip to Stamford may appear to be a date too soon, but Greene is hopeful his defender will be able to feature in Tuesday’s visit to King’s Lynn and the away trip to Gateshead four days later - enabling him to pick up vital minutes ahead of the start of the league campaign.
“It’s a real difficult one. It’s getting alarming as he may not be fit until Tuesday or the Gateshead game,” Greene added.
“He might only get one more game. It’s not the ideal preparation to play only two games and miss training.
“It’s a concern if we have to play him. But we do need him and his height in the team.
“Joe (Maguire) is pretty decent in the air, but we do need Browny there to head the ball.
“We’ll have to take it as it comes.”
Greene hopes Jay Rollins and Joe Burgess, who both missed Tuesday’s contest with minor niggles, will be available for Saturday.
Cameron Johnson also missed the game due to a sickness bug.