Plymouth Argyle are assessing the severity of the groin injury suffered by Paul Wotton in the 3-1 npower League Two defeat to Port Vale at Home Park on Saturday.
The experienced midfielder, 35, had to be substituted in the second half. Wotton must be doubtful for the visit of struggling Bristol Rovers to Home Park tomorrow (7.45pm). He has been added to a lengthy casualty list which has to be causing concern for manager Carl Fletcher.
Wotton was having a good game in the midfield holding role in a 4-1-4-1 formation until his early exit from the match. Not only was he providing protection for the Pilgrims' defence, his delivery at set-pieces – both corners and free-kicks – was excellent.
Argyle were 1-0 up when Wotton was substituted in the 56th minute, with 17-year-old Matt Lecointe sent on to replace him. By the 78th minute, however, Vale were leading 3-1 and on their way to victory.
Fletcher admitted that the enforced substitution of Wotton, on his 463rd appearance for the club, had been a turning point in the match. He said: "We missed his experience. He said he did his groin in the first five minutes and it just got worse and worse.
"Stopping at half-time didn't help, and he tried to get through it in the second half but just couldn't. That's disappointing for us, and we will have to see how he is."
Argyle's injury list already included Nick Chadwick, Paris Cowan-Hall, Rene Gilmartin, Rhys Griffiths and Jamie Lowry. So their squad is starting to be stretched, with a busy period of matches coming up.
Argyle dropped down to 19th position in League Two after losing to Vale, while tomorrow's opponents are 23rd after a 4-0 drubbing at leaders Gillingham on Saturday.
Argyle took the lead against Vale with a long-distance drive from left-back Robbie Williams in the 18th minute, but Vale hit back strongly with three goals in 19 second-half minutes.
Fletcher said: "I'm a little bit shell-shocked. You come out of the game thinking: 'How have we lost that one?'
"We controlled the first half, played some really nice stuff and got a deserved lead. It eased off a little bit at the end of the first half but we were still fully in control and we tried to push on in the second half, but it wasn't to be.
"We got sucker-punched, and from a game we were in control of and winning we have come out with a defeat."
Fletcher was asked why he thought Argyle had struggled in the second half after leading at the break. He replied: "It's hard to put your finger on it. Losing goals makes a difference. After the first one, it went downhill from there.
"We will look at the DVD, put our finger on things and speak to people, and we will move on to Tuesday."