Further bad news on injuries has overshadowed battling champions Brisbane Roar's re-signing of captain Matt Smith for a further two A-League seasons.
German linchpin Thomas Broich's heel injury and Brazilian striker Henrique's knee mean the pair have been ruled out for the Roar's next three matches, while Olyroos playmaker Mitch Nicholls is in serious doubt for Saturday night's home clash with Melbourne Victory.
Nicholls joined his fellow attackers Broich and Henrique on the Ballymore sidelines at training and coach Ange Postecoglou rated him only a 50-50 chance to overcome a groin injury and play.
In the midst of a club record five-match losing streak, the continued injury dramas are coming at the worst time and in the worst positions for Brisbane.
Canadian winger Issey Nakajima-Farran is also nursing a calf problem which is making Postecoglou's quest to address his misfiring forward line even more difficult.
The coach labelled the front third his team's main problem after the 1-0 Boxing Day loss to lowly-ranked Gold Coast which saw them drop to third on the A-League ladder.
The defending premiers, unbeaten for a national record 36 straight matches a month ago, could slip deeper to fourth if Sydney FC defeat Melbourne Heart on Thursday night.