Dundee United central defender Mark Connolly is facing months on the sidelines after scans showed his hamstring injury to be worse than first thought.
Tannadice manager Robbie Neilson moved to sign former Exeter stopper Troy Brown on Monday night, partly because of the cloud hanging over the Irishman.
Brown’s arrival will give much-needed cover with Connolly out for a lengthy spell and Frederic Frans having left the club for Belgium side Lierse on transfer deadline day.
Neilson said: “Mark has an issue with his hamstring.
“We were hoping it was only going to be two or three weeks but it is going to be a bit longer.
“He is going to see a specialist next week and we are looking at two or three months.
“Originally, when he did it he was walking about and everything was all right.
“But he got scanned and it looked worse.
“That was one of the reasons we had to move for Troy.”
Neilson had originally shown an interest in Brown at the start of the year so is delighted to closed the deal.
He said: “Troy is a good player and he is one we actually looked at in January but he had a couple of wee niggles then.
“I knew him before from his time at Exeter and he ended up going to Bury during the summer and obviously the situation at Bury, we all know about.
“We managed to get him and we are really pleased.
“He will bring great physicality to the team and he is experienced as well.”
In the past two league games, it has been midfielder Calum Butcher who has replaced Connolly at the back. Understandably, however, Neilson doesn’t want to lose the tough-tackling Butcher from the centre of the pitch.
Neilson said: “Calum is a big influence in midfield with his physicality and ability.
“We felt that, although he can go and sit in at centre half no problem, the issue we have is we are down to two centre-halves.
“We’ve got Paul Watson who can play in there as well but we don’t have a lot of options.
“Obviously, Freddy Frans moved on as well so it was important to bring someone in.”
Brown’s arrival has closed the door on former Motherwell winger Elliott Frear, who had spent a while on trial at United.
Neilson added: “Financially, we felt we were on budget and we didn’t want to push too much.
“After what happened with Connolly we felt we needed to go down the centre-half route.
“It’s one of those where you have to look at the team as whole.
“Elliott had come up and trained with us quite a bit but the circumstances changed.”