Dean Saunders has described losing Angel Martinez for six months to a knee injury as `a big blow` for Chesterfield.
But the Blues boss expects another midfielder to step up to the plate in his absence, and he hopes his players have been closely watching the Spaniard.
Martinez is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after suffering anterior cruciate ligament damage in training this week.
The 29-year-old has made a big impact in the three matches he has played since joining the club last month and he will already prove to be a big loss.
Saunders has no immediate plans to use the loan market to replace him when that transfer window re-opens next week.
Instead, the manager will cover the defensive midfield position from within the squad and he hopes Martinez’s absence does not affect the dynamic of the team too much.
“It’s a blow to him personally and a blow to us because we’ve looked a lot more solid with him in front of our defence,” said Saunders ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Wigan.
“It’s no coincidence that we kept back-to-back clean sheets.
“He’s the type of player who can see danger and gets himself in the right place. He’s unselfish, he doesn’t want to be the star. He’s happy to allow Sam Morsy and Jay O’Shea to go forward and score goals, which they have been doing, and he just fills in.
“Sometimes you won’t even notice he’s done anything, but you can be sure his team mates out there on the pitch know what he’s done.
“You have to work hard in that role and you don’t get any thanks for it but the players around him know - that’s why often that position wins the players’ player of the year.
“Players like that are invaluable and that’s why you have to keep giving them new contracts.
“We’ve got midfielders here already who now need to do that. Hopefully some of them have learned from watching him and playing with him. The ones who haven’t been playing have hopefully been watching him and realise that is what they need to do.
“You learn from your peers as well as coaches.”