Peterhead may be without Scott Hooper for the rest of the season – but boss Jim McInally is already working to get him secured for next term.
The Blue Toon defender has been struck down by glandular fever and may miss the League 1 run-in depending on how quickly he recovers.
Hooper has been feeling tired for a number of weeks and the 25-year-old was eventually diagnosed with the viral infection on Friday.
McInally is disappointed with the news having been impressed with the former Annan Athletic player’s displays this term – and being without him for potentially the final 10 games of the season is a blow for the Buchan outfit.
The Balmoor gaffer said: “It’s not good news with Scott – he’s got glandular fever.
“He’s also got another wee issue where his doctor wants to look at his spleen because they think he might have done damage to his spleen.
“So he’s going to get X-rays and it looks like Scott could be out for a while.
“Glandular fever can range from anything from a couple of weeks to a year before it clears up.
“It’s a blow because I’ve been really happy with Scott on the pitch.
“With Luc Bollan joining the plan was to move him across to right-back and utilise his defensive qualities. Of course it’s disappointing for the team.
“But firstly and most importantly it’s disappointing for Scott because you don’t want anyone suffering with an illness like that.
“Scott is gutted about it, but by the same token he is relieved the doctors have found something.
“He was starting to get worried because he’d been feeling tired and under the weather and they couldn’t find anything wrong with him.”
Despite Hooper’s illness, McInally has already made moves to get him signed on a contract for next season.
Scotland’s longest serving manager added: “I’ve already spoken to Scott about getting it sorted out for next season.
“He knows we want to keep him. Regardless of his illness we were looking to keep Scott and nothing changes on that front.”
Peterhead were out of action on Saturday with their game against Stranraer at Stair Park postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
The Blue Toon’s next assignment is on Saturday when they face Falkirk away from home.
The Buchan outfit sit eighth in the League 1 table, just two points above Forfar Athletic, who are in the relegation play-off position.
McInally said: “We know what we’ve got to do to stay up. We have a points tally we feel we need to get to and it’s about trying to get there as quickly as possible.”