Published: 20:50, 12 August 2017
Ebbsfleet captain Dave Winfield may not play again this year after suffering a serious knee injury.
Winfield ruptured his medial ligament playing against Maidstone on Tuesday and Fleet boss Daryl McMahon says they'll be lucky if the defender is back before Christmas.
Named club captain in the summer, Winfield will now have to watch from the sidelines for the next few months.
Ebbsfleet manager Daryl McMahon said: "We can’t get away from it and I’m not going to try to dress it up, it’s a huge loss. He’s a huge player and a huge character.
"He’s the captain, the leader of the group so to lose him will be tough to take but we’ve got players that have to come in now and take responsibility and step up.
"That’s important and we will have that."
Ebbsfleet missed Winfield badly in their 3-3 draw at home to AFC Fylde on Saturday.
Centre-halves Kenny Clark and Sam Magri looked lost at times without Winfield alongside them.
"Losing Dave hasn't helped us," admitted McMahon. "Every time he doesn’t play we concede two goals and it’s something we’ve got to rectify quickly in this division because if you give teams two-goal head starts, you can’t keep coming back from stuff like that.
"We need to be better defensively.
"Obviously Dave’s a big powerhouse defender but he’s a talker and an organiser. He organises those in front of him as well, which he does really well.
"When he’s not playing, someone’s got to take responsibility for it and I thought we didn’t do that in the first half.
"For the amount of experience we’ve got on the pitch, I expected a little bit more."
Fleet have Yado Mambo as back-up but McMahon is likely to bring another defender in on loan.
He said: "It’s not essential. We’ve still got Yads as well but we lose Mags (Sam Magri) for the Dover and Eastleigh games over the international break so we will be bare then - especially if we get another injury.
"We will probably look to do something if we can but it’s got to be the right player. They’ve got to be the right profile for me to come into the team."
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