It hasn’t been the happiest of times for Aston Villa of late and the season-ending injury to Darren Bent has made matters worse.
The last thing Villa needed in their current predicament was to lose their leading marksman who almost single handedly eased any relegation fears when they started to creep in last season.
But boss Alex McLeish, who has come under fire more so than ever in recent weeks, knows that they must get by without their reliable source of goals as those same worries once again start to kick in.
Results have been disappointing in recent weeks and Villa are edging towards a relegation battle unless there is a rapid improvement.
Despite the poor run which has seen Villa win just once in the league this year, there was always the guarantee of goals with Bent in the side.
But now McLeish and Co are going to have to get themselves out of the current mess without their record signing.
“I am gutted for Darren, first and foremost for the player,” said McLeish. “You don’t want to see any player have that bad luck.
“It is a big loss to us too, such is his prowess as a goalscorer. But it means opportunities for others. We have other players who have to take the responsibility. That’s the great challenge for them.
“It’s also a chance for them to show they can handle that type of responsibility.
“I have only texted Darren a couple of times and spoken with him briefly. But right now he’s not at the training ground and it’ll be a couple of days before we see him. I know he is suitably gutted.
“We know he’s a guy who thrives on chances in the penalty box and it would have been nice to supply him with even more chances but he’s scored a fair few goals. He’s one of these elusive guys in the box.
“He’s still a young man and still has a big career ahead of him. He’s got a lot of life left in him yet.
“It’s a setback for everybody but I am sure he will come back strong and determined to get back among the goals on his return.
“When you lose somebody like that the challenge is on for somebody else to come to the fore.
“Gabby Agbonlahor and Stephen Ireland will be back in the thinking now that Robbie Keane’s gone also, so the script can be written for these guys to get the goals for us.”
The ankle injury that Bent sustained in last week’s goalless draw at Wigan may also see him miss out on Euro 2012 – his chance to appear at the first major international tournament of his career.
While there will be plenty of strikers waiting in line to replace the prolific forward for England, finding a suitable replacement at club level will be a lot harder.
Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey are the two senior forwards remaining at the club while Andi Wiemann may also get a chance to impress.
It comes at a time when Villa find themselves just eight points clear of the drop zone, and with three massive games against teams around them in the table coming up.
On Saturday Villa travel to Ewood Park to take on Blackburn Rovers.
Then they host Fulham and Bolton Wanderers at Villa Park in games that will give a clearer indication how this season is likely to pan out.