Injuries are mounting up for Michael Appleton’s Lincoln City as they prepare to face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
The Imps are already without key players Jorge Grant, Joe Walsh and Harry Anderson, but Tom Hopper will now also join them in the injury room.
Hopper, who has scored nine goals so far this season, pulled up midway through the second half against Gillingham on Tuesday night, and the Imps boss confirmed that he could miss the rest of the season.
“It isn’t particularly good news,” Appleton said.
“He had his scan last night and it’s going to be a six-to-eight-week job, so it looks like his season is done.”
Lincoln are now down to the bare bones ahead of the visit to in-form Sunderland on Saturday, with both Lewis Montsma and Adam Jackson facing potential injury scares.
However, Appleton is still focusing on the positives heading into the final stretch of games in the League One season.
He said: “Our target will always remain the same. As it stands right now our target is to hit what we would want and beyond it.
“What we have done, because we started so well, we have put ourselves in a position with 11 games to go where we can finish in the top six.
“The message is clear: let’s not throw that away easily, let’s make sure we take as many points as possible and give us the best chance of finishing in the top six. And if we do, it will be an incredible achievement for a club our size.”
Appleton was also complimentary of the Black Cats ahead of Saturday, who have lost just two games since their 4-0 hammering of Lincoln at LNER Stadium in December.
The Imps boss said: “They are a good side, they’ve got a lot of good experienced players in the team.
“They are very pragmatic in how they approach [the game]. They’ve got the excellence of Charlie Wyke up top in terms of bringing people in to play and are very dangerous when the ball is in wide areas.
“But we feel we’ve got enough to win the game, but ultimately we have to defend better than we did on Tuesday night.”