Simon Weaver believes the devastating injury to star midfielder Lloyd Kerry will spur his Harrogate Town squad.
Kerry faces a long spell on the sidelines after sustaining two fractures to his cheekbone and two more to his eye socket in the late stages of Bank Holiday Monday’s 1-0 win at Yorkshire rivals FC Halifax Town.
The midfielder was taken to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary by ambulance straight after the match and will undergo surgery in Bradford tomorrow.
Weaver and Town physio Rachel Davies spent the night in hospital waiting for updates on the player, who is likely to miss more than three months of action.
Weaver said “During that time, it was just really sad. It’s knocked the stuffing out of me.
“When you see someone like Lloyd, who has battled to get back into the team and then become an ever-present member, in pain it is so deflating. He’s such an honest, family man.
“We have to hope he is just out for a few months and he comes back bigger and stronger for it.
“He is amazingly upbeat but obviously it will hit him at times when he gets rid of the shock.”
The injury marred a terrific performance from Town as they overcame the pre-season title favourites at the Shay Stadium.
Local lad Jack Emmett scored the only goal of the game in the second half with a sublime hit from the edge of the box.
The victory kept Town level on points with leaders AFC Fylde, who beat Town in the play-offs last season, and Weaver’s troops sit third on goal difference.
Curzon Ashton are the visitors to the CNG Stadium this Saturday before Glazer-rebels FC United of Manchester arrive on Tuesday evening.
And Weaver said his players will have Kerry in their mind as they look to maintain a seven-match unbeaten run.
The boss said: “I am sure the squad will want to keep us up there while he is out.
“He epitomises the way we want to play – ratting around, giving 100 per cent intensity and composure on the ball.
“He has been as good as anyone this season and is probably up there for the player of the month award across the division.”