Published: 00:00, 26 July 2018
Injured striker Andy Pugh is to undergo surgery in an attempt to prolong his football career.
Pugh suffered a double leg break playing for Dartford against Colchester in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.
He's spent this week in hospital and got a second opinion from a specialist following the intervention of manager Jamie Coyle.
"The hospital were trying to send him away in a cast," Coyle said. "I got a specialist to have a look at his x-ray and he stated that it will be a lot better for him in the long run to get a pin and some screws put in. It's more secure that way than gambling on it fusing together itself.
"The hospital confirmed they will do the operation on the back of the specialist's recommendation.
"You hear these horror stories where people get put in a cast for eight weeks, it gets re-x-rayed and it hasn't fused together.
"That's what the specialist is concerned about and after looking at the x-ray, he said the best thing he can do is get a pin in it and make sure it starts to fuse together now so the recovery process will be a lot shorter."
Pugh was stretchered off 13 minutes into Saturday's game after colliding with the Colchester goalkeeper.
Coyle said: "It's upsetting because we had really high hopes for him this year. He's been training well, looking sharp and we were expecting him to have a good season.
"He's one of those players, unfortunately, who's been so unlucky with injuries and this is a major one. I'm gutted for him.
"But he's a strong character and with his mentality, he'll be back as quick as anyone else.
"We'll support him as much as we can. He's a huge player for the club and has been for the last few years."
Pugh's injury represents the biggest challenge so far to Coyle and his joint-manager Adam Flanagan.
Coyle said: "It's a real concern because if Pughy stayed fit this year, it's almost a guarantee of 25 goals. Trying to find someone to fill that void is very difficult.
"We haven't got a buge budget where we can go out and find another forward. I've spoken to five or six agents since Saturday, maybe looking at the loan market or any players that have not quite secured a contract that are trialling.
"We've got three or four potentials that may come in but it's difficult because we've got just over a week before the start of the season.
"Getting someone in now, they've got to understand your philosophy, your set-pieces, the way you play and it's really difficult but we are going to need another body to come in."