LUCAS Akins is set to miss tomorrow's visit to Mansfield Town to allow his broken hand to heal – and avoid a potential two-month absence.
The 25-year-old Burton Albion winger missed the historic victory over Queen's Park Rangers on Wednesday night with the injury.
Brewers boss Gary Rowett had been tempted to gamble on keeping the influential Akins in his side.
But now the danger is that a further blow to the hand – which he injured in the win over Dagenham – would rule Akins (pictured) out for a long spell.
"The thought process a few weeks ago was to have a gamble," said Rowett.
"We've been playing him and psychologically he's only going to be 80 per cent because he's going to be aware of his hand.
"He's going to know the injury is there every time he goes up for a header.
"He's not going to play at his full capacity and how long would that go on?
"He could no longer have it pinned, he would have to have it wired which would mean more than two months out.
"So, do we leave him out against QPR and Mansfield and therefore have two weeks' rest?
"Then it's well on the way to healing and he'll be psychologically better."
Rowett admitted he did not want to leave Akins out and that the player himself wants to carry on playing.
But, the manager says, his long-term health is more important than a handful of games.
"I don't want to leave him out of any game and he doesn't want to be left out because he's a great pro," said Rowett.
"But if we were to lose him for two months it would be a devastating blow to us."