Midgley United have suffered a double blow in their quest to regain the Haslem Sheppard Halifax AFL crown.
Manager Craig Gee expects to be without star striker Tom Booth and useful midfielder Jamie Coward until the start of 2015.
Booth broke his ankle playing for Hollins Holme in their Halifax FA Sunday Cup final success over Halifax Hammers in the spring.
While that injury has healed fine, Gee said Booth had been faced with “big issues” when he tried to put weight on the ankle, including swelling.
“An x-ray has shown up an old break and he will have to have the joint cleaned,” said Gee.
“It must be from a few years ago and one that he didn’t know about.”
Gee said Booth faced surgery in September and that he expected him to be out of Midgley’s plans until the New Year.
Coward is a prominent motor cycle racer, who rides at the Isle of Man TT and other events.
He broke his tibia and fibula in an accident in Ireland in May and has had his leg in a frame.
“He’ll make a full recovery but it will be the same for him as Boothy - we’ll see him after Christmas.”
Booth is one of the top strikers in local football, regularly scoring more than 30 goals a season.
Coward is also a regular first team choice.
However, it is not all bad news for Midgley, who were runaway Premier Division champions in 2012/2013 but finished only fourth behind Ryburn United last term and failed to make much of an impact in the cups.
Gee said Midgley had been back in training for three weeks and the club had a couple of useful additions.
Greg Spink, who plays on the left side of midfield, is back from a spell travelling in Australia. He missed the last campaign.
Midgley have also signed utility played Danny Pullen from fellow Premier Division side Copley.
He played for Midgley in his teens, went away to university and has also played for Halifax Irish since returning. He has now moved to Luddenden.
Gee has another signing or two in the pipeline and is pleased with the way training has gone so far and the number of players attending with two teams to fill again next season.
“I’m just sorting out one or two friendlies. We’ll start in August and try to get three in.”
Gee is determined that his side will hit the ground running. “The way we started last season cost us - we dropped too many points in October.”
Midgley Reserves have been promoted to Division One as the league is reduced from four divisions to three.
Gee believes the new set-up will be an improvement but knows Midgley Reserves face a tough time.
“It is going to be a big ask for them because they will be playing teams like Sowerby Bridge and Holmfield, who we faced in the Premier last season and are not bad sides.”