Charlestown have climbed back to the top of the Northern NSW NPL table but are looking for reinforcements after two potentially season-ending injuries.
Three-time league-leading scorer Kane Goodchild (hamstring) and midfielder Riley McNaughton (knee) were facing at least a few weeks out but are now battling to return at all this year.
Goodchild came off early in the round-three win over Lake Macquarie with a hamstring tear and aggravated the injury three weeks ago in training.
It was thought Goodchild would miss at least another month but Blues coach David Tanchevski said scans had revealed further damage.
McNaughton injured his knee in the 3-2 loss to Adamstown on May 6 and the initial diagnosis was a grade two medial ligament tear. However, Tanchevksi said scans had shown it to be grade three, which requires a 12-week recovery.
“Riley’s out for the season and Goody is another 10 weeks away, so he’s pretty much gone for the season as well,” Tanchevski said. “We’re not having much luck with injuries but hopefully we get Daniel Minors [torn calf] back in a few weeks.”
The loss of McNaughton and Minors has tested Charlestown’s midfield stocks and Tanchevski said they were looking for a possible injury replacement.
The Blues have the bye this weekend but host Lake Macquarie on Wednesday night at Lisle Carr Oval in round five of the FFA Cup.
On the same night, Edgeworth play Valentine at Jack McLaughlan Oval, Raymond Terrace host Adamstown, Hamilton travel to Weston, Thornton welcome Broadmeadow and Lambton Jaffas are away to Cessnock. All games start 7pm.
The winners play on June 9-11 at Speers Point for the two NNSW spots in the nationwide round of 32.