RORY Patterson is set to miss eight FC United matches next month after being reported for a red card during a pre-season friendly.
The Rebels' star striker, named as non-league Young Player of the Year last season, has picked up a 35-day suspension for "violent conduct" during the 2-1 defeat by Trafford two weeks ago.
The club is planning to appeal but, unless they are successful, the ban is expected to start on September 5 which means Patterson would miss a big FA Cup clash with Fleetwood Town should FC battle through their preliminary round tie against either Atherton LR or Trafford.
News of the ban for Patterson, who has scored 58 goals in 78 games for FC, is a third big blow to the club just days ahead of their debut in the UniBond League when they travel to play Lancaster City on Saturday.
The club has lost last season's top scorer, Stuart Rudd, for the opening three weeks of the season with a broken hand, although a special cast may allow him to return before Patterson's ban kicks in.
And Rhodri Giggs, who would have partnered Patterson up front, has left the club for Curzon Ashton following a dispute with manager Karl Marginson after the player turned up late for the pre-season friendly at AFC Wimbledon.
That means new boy Anthony Hargreaves, a former Flixton and Cammell Laird striker, is expected to make his FC debut at Lancaster.