Aberdeen Grammar are counting the cost of their extensive injury list after forward Yasseen Ahmanache was ruled out for the season.
Prop Ahmanache broke his leg in training on Tuesday and a subsequent x-ray confirmed the extent of the damage.
Grammar head coach Ali O’Connor is already dealing with a number of concerns. New addition Carwyn Walker has been troubled by back problems, Bryn Perrott and Mark New have ankle injuries, Jonny Spence has a shoulder issue, while co-captain Nat Coe is also struggling.
“We have to contend with the fact we’re not able to get our strongest two teams on the pitch,” said O’Connor. “Whether it’s a result of having too much time off, I don’t know.
“For Yasseen, it’s probably the end of his season and we’re gutted about that. It was just doing tackling practices and unfortunately someone fell on his leg. It was a nasty break.
“Credit to him, he was able to get up and walk off, but he’s had it x-rayed and it’s pretty bad.
“It is a problem when you’re doing tackling drills – you do run the risk of picking up some injuries. But you’ve got to find a balance to get it right.”
The injury situation compounds an already difficult start to the season for Grammar.
They saw training shut down and their first Premiership game against Edinburgh Accies suspended after a number of Covid cases at the club, with that fixture now rearranged for November.
Coupled with defeats to Glasgow Hawks and Marr to start the campaign, a change in fortunes would go down well at Rubislaw just now.
“It would be good to get that, but I suppose every club in the country has had to suffer similar things,” added O’Connor.
“We can’t really complain too much. We’ve had two tough games to prepare us and there are no excuses. The teams that’s going to go out there will be strong, motivated and organised.
“If we don’t do the business this week then we’ve only got ourselves to blame.”
Jed Forest come to Aberdeen also looking for their first win of the season, with two defeats from their opening games.
Grammar suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Marr a week ago, going down 48-12, and O’Connor wants to see defensive improvements.
“We have to focus again on the defensive system,” he added. “There were a few individual errors that we need to iron out before the weekend.
“Jed have got a dangerous back division and we have got our work cut out. We need to get the organisation right and see what the weather brings, which team adjusts better on the day.
“It builds a bit of pressure on the boys when you’ve not got a win. There’s no better time to get it than the first home game of the season.
“Hopefully we’re able to put in a performance that sees our attack flourish and our defence stay strong.”