Garstang manager Lee Baker will not rush Dan Birch back into action as he recovers from a serious hand injury.
The 20-year-old has been unavailable since sustaining the freak injury in training, which left him requiring 19 stitches, prior to the win at Fulwood Amateurs last month.
While he might do some warm-up work ahead of the Riversiders’ Lancashire Shield tie against Millom on Saturday, Baker admitted match involvement may be a while away yet.
He said: “I can’t risk Dan playing; I might risk him doing a little bit in the warm-up and I might send him for a run after the game.
“I can’t risk him in terms of contact situations; he only had his stitches out last week and I think they were worried about the movement in his hand.”
The injury occurred while Baker’s players were at Lancaster University, waiting for the floodlights to come on so they could commence training.
However, while waiting for the lights to come on, a ball was sent over a fence which Birch elected to fetch by apparently climbing over a fence and injuring himself in the process.
“We were stood around on the pitch and the lads were shooting at goal,” Baker said.
“I’m on the phone asking about the lights – which are computerised – and when they were being switched on.
“As soon as the lights were turned on, Birchy came running back through the gate, shouting ‘get me to hospital.’
“It was still pitch black so I got the torch out on my phone and it was like a scene from a horror movie.
“They call it ‘degloving’ of the finger; my wife is a nurse and she said the skin is pulled from the bottom end of the finger to the top – all you could see was the bone and tendon.
“It just goes to show how easily you can do it but they have done is amazing; his hand looks OK on the surface.”
While the hand continues its recovery, the player himself also seems to have taken it in his stride.
“He’s been fine really; Dan’s a brilliant character,” Baker said.
“He’s a happy-go-lucky lad but it was just one of those freak accidents – though if anyone was going to do it then it would have been him!”