PILGRIMS playmaker Ben Milnes will be sidelined for up to a month after suffering an ankle injury.
The 20-year-old midfielder was substituted just 14 minutes into New Year’s Day’s 2-2 draw at Eastwood.
The former Leicester City trainee later left the ground on crutches.
“He’s turned his ankle quite badly,” manager Lee Canoville confirmed.
“We’ll have to see how that settles in the next few days, but Katie (Cooper, club physio) has said it looks like he’s sprained his ligaments on both sides.
“He could be out for anything through to three or four weeks.”
Milnes, who joined the club after impressing on trial in the summer, has made a starting place his own after an indifferent start to his Pilgrims career.
He has started the previous 11 matches after an up-and-down beginning to life at the Jakemans Stadium.
Canoville added: “That’s a bad blow for us.
“He’s one of the few players who’s come on in the past months or so.
“He’s really improved as a player and grown up quickly. He’s only a young lad.”
However, Canoville believes that the United squad still has players able to come in and fill the void.
Chris Hall would be the likeliest candidates to replace Milnes if the Pilgrims opted to stay with a midfield three.
Alternatively, United could switch to a 4-4-2 formation, freeing up space for Ryan Semple or Ben Fairclough to return to the wing.
Adam Millson could be recalled from his loan at Quorn or defenders Kevin Austin, Tom Ward or Nathan Stainfield could be drafted in as makeshift midfielders, with Gareth Jelleyman available to return to the back four.
Whoever is given the nod, Canovile has challenged them to rise to the occasion.
He added: “It’s a blow but it gives someone else an opportunity.
“It’s up to the others to come in and do a job.
“They don’t want to be just replacements, they need to be showing why they should be in the team.
“We’ve got good enough players waiting to come in.”