Chorley boss Matt Jansen is cursing his luck after on-loan defender Keil O’Brien suffered a season-ending injury over the Easter weekend.
O’Brien left Chorley to join Bury in 2014 but he suffered from a niggling knee injury during his time at Gigg Lane.
Knowing Keil’s injury history, Jansen only took the full-back on a month’s loan from League One side Bury.
O’Brien’s knee held up and he impressed during the month-long stay.
But just 24 hours after Chorley extended the defender’s loan until the end of the season, he suffered a suspected torn hamstring in the defeat at FC United on Saturday.
And now Jansen says O’Brien will miss the final five games.
But he was boosted by the return to fitness of full-back Courtney Meppen-Walter, who was man of the match in the Magpies’ 0-0 Easter Monday draw with Stalybridge Celtic.
And he is fit for the crunch game at Tamworth on Saturday as Chorley chase a play-off spot.
Jansen said: “Against FC United, Keil got injured and we had no natural right-back so midfielder Dale Whitham had to slot back in.
“Courtney Meppen-Walter was on the bench to make numbers up against FC United so I couldn’t bring him on but he played very well on Monday and he is fit for the Tamworth game.
“Keil is out for the season, which is a blow.
“I suppose it’s Murphy’s Law that is happened because with his knee history we only initially signed him on a month.
“Then the day after we extend his loan until the end of the season to make sure we had enough players for the final few games, he gets injured and is out for the rest of the season.
“But players get injured, that is football.”
Jansen was disappointed with the last three games but with five games left of the National League North campaign – and the Magpies five points adrift of a play-off spot – he is not ruling out a late surge.
Chorley’s play-off quest suffered a dent with two defeats and a goalless draw in less than a week.
They failed to score in all three games as they lost at Bradford Park Avenue and FC United but drew 0-0 with Staylbridge.
Jansen said: “I was disappointed with the last three games but we deserved more than a point on Monday.
“We had injuries and suspensions but that is no excuse. People come in and they have to stake a claim for their shirt.”
Eighth-placed Chorley could put their promotion bid back on track with victory over Tamworth.
If the Magpies win by more than two goals they will leapfrog the seventh-placed Lambs.
Jansen said: “It is a massive game. There is a glimmer of hope for the play-offs but I am realistic.
“I’m not going to say it is not going to happen. I just want us to win every game we play until the end of the season and see where we end up.
“I am already looking ahead to next year and I’m looking at players I’m going to bring in and planning for next season.”
Captain Andy Teague returned to the side against Celtic after missing the past three games due to suspension.
Jansen said: “Teaguey did well. We have missed a leader on the pitch in recent weeks and that is what he brings to the side.”