FC UNITED can open up a 21-point gap at the top of the Moore and Co Solicitors League second division when they face fellow promotion hopefuls Flixton at Gigg Lane tonight (7.45pm).
But the Rebels have been hit by the blow that free-scoring midfielder Simon Carden, who has been out for ten weeks with a knee injury, may require surgery which would count him out for the rest of the season.
Carden, who tops the FC goalscoring charts with 18, will shortly make a decision on whether to play on with the problem or to go under the knife.
Kevin Elvin and Mark Rawlinson will also miss tonight's game, but new signing Dave Swarbrick is hoping for his debut.
"It will take him time to settle in but he impressed us when we played his former club Holker Old Boys," said manager Karl Marginson.