Gethin Jones will miss Wanderers’ play-off challenge with the Whites looking to soften the blow by delivering on promotion.
Jones has been ruled out of Wanderers’ two-legged semi-final tie with Barnsley and the final at Wembley at the end of the month – if Ian Evatt’s men make it.
The vice-captain suffered a hamstring injury when helping Wanderers win their final scheduled league fixture at Bristol Rovers last Sunday.
And Evatt confirmed the defender will be out of action until reporting back for pre-season training at the end of June.
“We’re gutted for Geth. He’s been fantastic this season and been part of this journey with me from day one, really,” said the Wanderers’ boss.
“He’s one of the first players that was signed. He’s grown with us and developed as a footballer, but also as a man.
“I’m extremely proud of him and what’s he achieved. He’s not going to be with us on the pitch, but he’ll certainly be with us, making sure the players are supported and ready for the game.
“And the best way we can repay his support is by getting promoted and we’re going to do all we can to try and make that happen.”
Jones has made 46 appearances for Wanderers this season and scored one of the goals that helped seal the Whites’ Wembley triumph in the Papa Johns Trophy.
Evatt’s men have proved they can do it on the big stage and will be looking to rise to the occasion again and keep alive hopes of a repeat visit to the national stadium via the play-offs.
“I don’t sense any nerves. I sense a real steely determination to do well,” added Evatt, ahead of Saturday’s home leg against the South Yorkshiremen.
“The players have trained great this week. They’ve been great all season, but I do feel like they have really come together since Wembley.
“We’ve had some adversity to deal with and we’ve come through that. Hopefully we can show everyone what we can do. We’ve done it once already this season and we want to try and replicate that performance again.
“We’re ready to go. We’re chomping at the bit and Saturday can’t come soon enough.”