Ross County defender Liam Fontaine will miss the start of the Championship campaign after suffering a cracked bone in his arm in last week’s victory over Dundee United.
Fontaine was withdrawn towards the end of the first half of Tuesday’s 1-0 Betfred Cup win, after coming off second best in a collision with United goalkeeper Matej Rakovan.
Staggies co-manager Steven Ferguson revealed the 32-year-old, who was named as the Staggies’ vice-captain for the new season, will face around a month out of action, and he said: “It is unlucky because he’s a model professional and a big part of our group.
“We have no doubt he will get himself back as quickly as he can, working through the programme with our physio Kevin Bain.
“It is always a frustrating one when it is an arm because your body, legs and lungs feel fine.
“But he just needs to go through that process of getting himself back and ready to go again to kick into the season.
“We’re looking at four to six weeks, but we’re already a week and a half into that. It is a standard type of injury with no complications.
“He will miss the start of the league campaign but we should have him back in August.”
Ferguson is confident County can deal with the former Hibernian defender’s absence, with he and fellow co-manager Stuart Kettlewell having also brought in defenders Keith Watson and Callum Morris during the summer.
He added: “That’s where the competition for places and the quality of cover is so important.
“We took Liam off the pitch against Dundee United but were able to put on somebody just as natural in that position.
“Until Liam is back, we’re comfortable with the guys we have in that area of the pitch.”
County take on League 1 side Arbroath in the Betfred Cup at Gayfield tonight, and despite opening their Group A campaign with back-to-back home wins, Ferguson knows the job of qualifying for the second round of the competition is not yet complete.
He added: “It’s only a start – two games into a cycle of four.
“We set out to win four games in the group and it is still there for us, but we ask the players to go and win any game they take part in.
“We feel winning games breeds a mentality and a good feeling around the place.
“It is all aimed at making sure we’re in the best possible place to start the league campaign. We’ll be doing our utmost to win at Arbroath and against Alloa on Saturday to prepare the players for the start of the league season.”