Michael Pook faces a six week lay-off after hobbling off in last Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Bradford with a calf injury.
Having only just survived relegation last season, Pook’s Cheltenham Town side have started the season strongly under his leadership and currently sit in ninth place in League Two, just eight points off the leaders.
However they also sit just eight points away from the two bottom sides, Hereford and Barnet, and Pook’s absence could prove crucial as Cheltenham look to establish themselves in the top half of the table in the run-up to Christmas.
Over the next two matches, Cheltenham face a tough home tie with League Two title chasers Port Vale, and a tricky away trip to Accrington, but the following four matches, which Pook is likely to miss, all come against lower league sides.
So Pook’s absence is not as critical had Cheltenham made a poor start to the season, but if they come away from the next two tough games with no points, they could find themselves back towards the bottom of the table.
Cheltenham manager Mark Yates will be targeting at least a point from their home tie with Port Vale and they are 23/10 to secure that point.
If the Robins can take 12 points from the six games that Pook is likely to miss, and with ties against Morecambe, Hereford and Southend in those six games suggesting it’s possible, Yates will believe his team have a chance of promotion.
At 50/1 to win League Two, Cheltenham are a big price, but if they can continue their early season form without their captain, an each way bet would offer 12/1 for Cheltenham to finish in the top three.
Top scorer Wes Thomas is targeting a return for the start of November. See the full League Two football betting odds market here.