Uwe Rosler says Fleetwood midfielder Jimmy Ryan is in good spirits after his foot operation but will be out of action until 2017.
Ryan’s year was ended by a late Anthony Grant challenge at Port Vale last month and the 28-year-old has had minor surgery.
But while Ryan will miss the festive home fixtures against Bury on Boxing Day and Oldham on New Year’s Eve, fellow midfielder Kyle Dempsey could play again this year.
Dempsey picked up a deep leg wound in Town’s 2-1 home win over Walsall 10 days ago but has not been ruled out of next week’s Highbury games.
Asked whether the duo would be out for the next two matches, head coach Rosler said: “Jimmy definitely; Kyle I don’t know – Kyle maybe (has) a chance.
“Jimmy has the operation behind him. He is in good spirits and everything went well.”
The pair are on a casualty list which also includes fellow midfielders Jack Sowerby (hamstring) and Martyn Woolford (knee), as well as defenders Ash Eastham (jaw) and Michael Duckworth (groin), but Rosler says morale remains high and he praised his players for finding a way to stretch their unbeaten run to eight games with Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Swindon.
And he hopes to have at least one of the injured six back for the Bury game.
Rosler added: “That is the morale we are building. We keep our run going, though we can’t choose at the moment from a fully fit squad.
“There are a lot of people missing for us but the lads are doing really well. I always say football is a squad game. The players asked to step up are coming on and working their socks off for the team.