DARLINGTON are likely to be without Luke Trotman out for the rest of the season after he ruptured an Achilles tendon in last night’s match with Gateshead.

The right-back suffered the injury late in the 1-1 draw at Blackwell Meadows and was taken to hospital straight after the match.

There is a chance Trotman could play again before the end of the season depending on how he recovers from surgery, but for now manager Alun Armstrong must plan without the 22-year-old.

The injury is a major blow to both player and club.

Trotman won the players’ player of the year award last season, a campaign in which the only match he missed was due to suspension, and he was also called up to the England C squad for the first time.

New signing Josh Heaton replaced Trotman as Quakers switched to 3-5-2, and in the absence of a clear replacement right-back that could be how Darlington start on Saturday at home to Kettering Town.

David Atkinson would have been a contender to fill in there, but he remains sidelined with a foot problem and is understood to be around two weeks away from playing.

Also last night Quakers lost Jamie Holmes to a knee injury and he was replaced before half-time by Tyrone O'Neill.

Darlington believe he may have a cartilage problem, but they hope he will be available for the weekend.

Saturday’s game is one of two in three days, with Darlington due to play at Curzon Ashton on Monday.