ROTHERHAM United striker Kyle Vassell has been rocked by a new injury setback.
The centre-forward was on the brink of a return to the first-team squad after being sidelined since the end of August with a hamstring complaint.
But the 26-year-old has hurt his calf in training and is now set to be out of action until the middle of November.
“It’s very tough to take,” said manager Paul Warne whose League One side are at home to third-placed Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday. “It’s tougher for him than it is for me, obviously.
The boss decribed Vassell as “brilliant” in training on Monday and the former Blackpool man had been earmarked for a substitute’s role in Wednesday night’s 2-0 triumph at table-topping Ipswich Town.
However, a scan on Wednesday revealed damage to the player’s soleus, a powerful muscle in the back of the calf.
“He’ll be out for three weeks,” Warne confirmed.
“I’ve been desperate to get him back because he’s a maverick and his element of surprise can be a deadly force.
“We haven’t rushed him back. It is a blow because the more attacking prowess and options you can have, the better. A manager always wants competition for the places up top.
“He’s had a flare-up. We were hoping it was going to be a two-day flare-up but the scan shows it’s a three-week one.”
Vassell has featured in only six games this season and hasn’t been available since limping out of the 1-1 draw with Tranmere Rovers on August 31.
Rotherham, up to ninth place after playing beating three top-six teams in their last four outings, have other injuries worries ahead of the Wycombe clash.
Right-back Matt Olosunde and midfielder Matt Crooks have groin issues following the victory at Portman Road while left-back Joe Mattock played in East Anglia despite his back seizing up before kick-off. All three are being monitored.
The Millers are only a point away from the play-off spots and could climb into the top six if they beat Wanderers at AESSEAL New York Stadium.
“Wednesday’s win is not worth as much if we don’t back it up with a result on Saturday,” Warne said. “8,500/9,000 home fans want to watch us play the way we did at Ipswich.”
The Rotherham squad stayed overnight near Ipswich after the Tractor Boys contest before training on Thursday morning and then heading back to South Yorkshire to prepare for Saturday.
Alcohol was strictly off the menu in the hotel, despite the Millers’ superb win.
“I did joke with the lads and said if it was a Tuesday rather than a Wednesday I’d have bought them a beer,” the manager said. “I might have to ‘buy’ them a day off or something instead.”