Aston Villa star Darren Bent has revealed he is "gutted" after it emerged he was likely to be sidelined for the remainder of the season with ruptured ankle ligaments, leaving the club facing a potential striker crisis.
The setback is a major concern for England although they can still call on a posse of other potential candidates for the Euro 2012 finals.
But Villa boss Alex McLeish has only Gabriel Agbonlahor and veteran Emile Heskey - who have both suffered injury problems of their own in recent weeks - at his disposal for the rest of the campaign.
Bent, 28, tweeted: "I'm gutted to be out for so long at such a crucial part of the season.
"Hopefully my recovery will be as quick as possible and thank you to everyone for your messages of support."
Bent has averaged approximately a goal every two games for Villa since his £18million move from Sunderland during the January 2011 transfer window.
He netted nine times during the second half of last season to ensure Villa moved comfortably clear of a possible relegation battle.
The ex-Tottenham player has also hit the target on 10 occasions during the current campaign despite the loss of creative duo Ashley Young and Stewart Downing last summer.
Bent suffered the setback during Saturday's goalless Barclays Premier League encounter with Wigan at the DW Stadium when he appeared to catch his ankle in the surface.
He visited a top ankle specialist in London yesterday afternoon and his worst fears were realised.
Villa, in a statement, confirmed: "Darren Bent has undergone scans and he has seen a top ankle specialist in London.
"He faces up to 12 weeks on the sidelines having ruptured ankle ligaments in his left foot in the game against Wigan and he is unlikely to play again this season.
"Darren will undergo a further examination in seven days to determine the need for an operation."
Agbonlahor has shown himself capable of stepping up to the mark this season but a combination of back and hamstring problems have checked his progress in recent weeks although he was captain at Wigan.
Heskey has been a willing worker but McLeish has also had to be mindful of an Achilles problem the former England striker has been carrying this season.
One possible option would be to recall England Under-21 striker Nathan Delfouneso from a loan spell at Leicester but he has struggled to make an impact with Villa.