THE injury absence of defender Billy Jones is intensifying the need for Rotherham United to make their next breakthrough in the transfer market.
The right-back is troubled by a sore heel and the Millers have no idea when he will be fit to return.
With left-back Trevor Clarke also sidelined, manager Paul Warne, who watched his side open their League One campaign with a 2-1 win at AFC Wimbledon last Saturday, is keen to strengthen his backline as soon as possible.
"I don't know when Billy is going to be available," the boss said. "I don't think it's long term but it isn't getting better. It is like a soreness in his heel when he runs. That could last a day or six months. I don't honestly know.
"He has been scanned. It's not a massive issue, but he is still getting pain. Obviously, with Trevor being out on the other flank as well, if something happens to a full-back then I am putting a centre-half there.
Warne has already made nine summer signings and has until September 3 to add to his squad.
"We are a little bit threadbare at the back," he said. "We definitely need some cover there.
"We have four weeks left of the transfer window so we have enough time to hopefully get something done."
The Millers, who are at home to Manchester United Under-21s in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday (kick-off 7pm), have only two fit full-backs in right-sided Matthew Olosunde and left-footed Joe Mattock, both of whom played against the Dons.
Meanwhile, French winger Julien Lamy is at least a fortnight away from rejoining full training after picking up a leg knock in the opening pre-season friendly against non-league Parkgate FC on July 6.
"He's getting there slowly but surely," Warne said. "He's got a bad bang and it's not healing as quickly as we would like. He's doing all the other work. He's swimming so much he'll be swimming to France soon.
"I feel for him because he kept himself in unbelievable shape in the off-season and was desperate to do well when we came back. His attitude has been spot-on. I think it will be a few more weeks."
Rotherham, who face Lincoln City in the league at AESSEAL New York Stadium on Saturday, have bids in for two central defenders and an attacker.
Warne is optimistic about landing one of the two centre-halves and is waiting to hear back from the player's club.