OWLS manager Dave Jones expects Chris Lines to be out for between eight and 12 weeks.
“It’s a big blow but it’s better than we thought and this is what football is all about: someone else has to fill the shirt,” said the team boss after last night’s 4-1 friendly win at Kilmarnock.
Lines had spoken of a possible absence of between six and eight weeks because of his groin injury and vowed to try and come back ahead of that schedule.
But Jones feels that the midfielder is being over-optimistic and the team boss is reviewing his midfield needs.
He would like to hasten clearance for Rhys McCabe to begin playing for the club after the dispute over the Rangers midfielder’s registration.
Lines has revealed that his injury comprises two tears in his groin and tissue separated from the bone.
Marlon Harewood scored a hat-trick last night but Jones suggested that goals scored in a friendly “played at testimonial pace” may not necessarily influence his decision on whether or not the striker will be given a deal: “We’ll probably sit down with him next week and make a decision,” said Jones, “It’s about whether he’s going to fit in with what we’ve got.
“If something else crops up that’s better for him or more concrete, he should consider that. He’s got his options open; his goals might alert other people.”
Jones also said that he is still assessing his other trialists: centre midfielders Gorka Larrea and Marek Jarolim, and Belgian international full back Gill Swerts, who all started last night’s game.
He said the trialists did well and he was pleased with another good work-out for the team.
Swerts, aged 30, from Dutch club Feyenoord, played at right back for the first half. He has been with Dutch club Feyenoord and has 19 Belgium caps, all of them between 2006 and 2009. He has also played for Netherlands outfits Exelsior Rotterdam, Den Haag, AZ Alkmaar and Vitesse Arnhem.
Academy keeper Cameron Dawson was on the bench last night as Stephen Bywater came in for Chris Kirkland.