Kettering Town are facing the prospect of being without Rene Howe for the first three games of the new Evo-Stik South League Premier season.
The frontman was sent-off for violent conduct late on in Tuesday’s 3-0 friendly defeat to Barwell at Latimer Park.
The Poppies will now be facing an anxious wait for the referee’s report but boss Marcus Law is already resigned to the striker receiving a three-match ban, which would rule him out of the first week of the new campaign.
“Rene let us down with some petulant behaviour and we are going to have to address that,” the Kettering boss said.
“It was very upsetting to be honest. He got suspended during an important time last season and missed seven matches because of it.
“Now we are facing the prospect of being without him for the first three games of the new season and it’s very, very disappointing.”
Kettering return to pre-season action at Coalville Town this evening (Thursday) while their next friendly after that is at Spalding United next Tuesday night.
The defeat to Barwell made it a mixed week for Law’s team so far after they produced an impressive second-half display to draw 1-1 with Northampton Town last Saturday before beating them 5-3 on penalties to lift the NFA Maunsell Cup.
But Law insists there are no alarm bells after the midweek loss, which came after Barwell scored three second-half goals.
“The game served its purpose,” he added.
“We had the two central defenders who played at the weekend missing due to injury and holidays so we looked at different people in there.
“We made five substitutions at one moment early in the second half because we had lads who played 90 minutes on Saturday and we took the opportunity to look at different players and a different shape, which is what pre-season is all about.
“There were a few players who didn’t come to the party so we will address that and sort it out.
“It’s Kettering Town and people do get emotional over it but if this had been the Rushall game (which is a week on Saturday) then I would be worried.”
“It’s pre-season and you set games up for a reason.
“Barwell were playing their fifth friendly, we were playing our third, all in the space of a week and, against a team from the same level, it was a chance to see where some of the players are.
“I think people get lost in the result at times but, as far as I am concerned, some players came through it with positives while others have left question marks over what they can give us at this level."