Newmarket Town boss Kevin Grainger has confirmed Steve Holder will be out for the rest of the season after breaking his leg on Saturday.
The ex-Mildenhall Town striker suffered a double break to his fibula after landing awkwardly during Newmarket’s defeat to Stanway Rovers at the weekend.
Holder spent two nights in the hospital before being released on Monday, and will spend the final months of the 2015-16 season in a rehabilitation program to get back to full fitness.
“Steve had an operation on Sunday where they pinned his leg,” Grainger said.
“He’ll miss the rest of the season now which is real bad news for us, because he’d only just recently come back from another injury and had started scoring in the majority of games. It’s a big loss.
“When it happened, we all felt sorry for him and all the players were upset. But we’ll group together and support him, so he’s ready to come back for next season.”
It was a tough day for the Jockeys on Saturday, with Holder’s injury coming in the midst of their 3-0 home defeat to Stanway, a result which extended their winless run to six games.
Newmarket (eighth) host the team directly above them in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division table this weekend, when seventh place Haverhill Rovers visit Cricket Field Road on Saturday (3pm).
Although the Jockeys are currently only three points behind Long Melford in sixth, Grainger admitted it will be difficult for his side to finish in the top six again this season.
“We’re going to see the season out with the squad we’ve got and get some of the young ones involved,” the Newmarket manager said. “To finish in the top six again would be nice, but it’s been a difficult season so far.
“We’ve got a good changing room and the new players that have come in are settling in.
“For the rest of the season I want to give the young lads in the squad some experience, and get the lads enjoying it.”
Newmarket secured their highest finish in 19 years last season by ending their 2014-15 Premier Division campaign in sixth spot, but Grainger’s focus for the remaining months of this season will be on developing the talented youngsters in the club’s Under-18 side.
“Alfie Ball is only 17, has started the last two games against Stanway, and has played very well,” he said.
“Tom Knowles is another one who has done well, and I want the boys to be playing as much as we can.”
Along with Ball and Knowles, Grainger has used five other players from the club’s under-18s this season.