Harrogate RUFC are scrambling to find a replacement fly-half weeks before their pre-season matches begin.
Star man Callum Irvine faces the prospect of months on the sidelines after his recovery from an ankle injury hit a snag.
The Scotland Under 20s international picked up the injury in the final moments of the historic Yorkshire Cup victory over Wharfedale in May.
Irvine, who was offered a chance to train at Championship side Doncaster Knights last month, has been awaiting an appointment to see a specialist at the hospital but club officials fear he could be out until 2016.
Director of rugby Mike Aspinall confirmed Irvine would miss the first match at Gate’s new home Rudding Lane – an enticing tie against fierce rivals Otley.
Aspinall said: “We are pretty sure Callum will be missing the start of the season. It will then depend on whether he will need an operation, and how long that wait could be.
“If it’s bad, he could be missing for six months and it could be as bad as missing the whole season.”
Meanwhile, Harrogate centre Kyle Dench could also miss the majority of the season as he awaits surgery on a hip injury.
James Morland has also left the club to rejoin rugby league side York City Knights.