(Picture: Action Images via Reuters)
National League side Ebbslfeet United have been rocked by the news captain Dave Winfield faces six months out injured.
The 29-year-old centre-back, who shone as The Fleet won promotion from National League South last season, was initially ruled out for three months after suffering a knee injury, but any hopes of him being back by Christmas have been extinguished.
Having been appointed club captain just a matter of weeks ago, the news comes as a big blow to Winfield and his boss, Daryl McMahon.
Speaking to the National League website, the young manager said: “It not what we wanted to hear.
“But obviously it’s bad news for Dave too as he’s a total professional and he will be missed on and off the pitch.
“We look forward to having him back further down the line.”
Following their historic promotion from Step 2, Ebbsfleet have settled into National League life well, and are still yet to have tasted a domestic defeat this year – but their defence does remain a worry.
McMahon’s side conceded two during the opening day draw with Guiseley and three in their last two games – in thrilling ties against AFC Fylde and Dagenham & Redbridge – meaning the lengthy loss of Winfield could prove damaging.
After the Daggers draw, McMahon told The NLP: “We’re a very together group and we have got huge spirit. Everything about the football club is competitive and we are a competitive team.”
He added: “I’m very proud of them, because we have shown tremendous character.”