Widnes could be without hooker Logan Tomkins for at least three months due to a foot problem.
Tomkins, 28, has been absent from most of the Vikings’ pre-season training, and their opening two matches of the 2021 campaign.
Getting to the bottom of the problem, which dates back to the hooker’s time at Salford, remains a challenge.
Vikings coach Simon Finnigan said: “He’s got a problem with his foot and it’s a hard one to get to the bottom of.
“It needs rehab and it needs time, and it’s one of them where you have to take him off his feet and look after him and then see how it progresses.
“We’re probably going to miss him for a couple of months, maybe three months or so, and that’s dependent on the rehab going the right way, which I’m pretty confident that it will you just don’t know at this stage.
“The time off has probably been a good thing, but at the same time he’s not had the load going through it so it’s not helped either.
“As soon as we tried to put a little bit on it in pre-season, it flared up again.
“It’s disappointing because he’s obviously a key player for us and we’ll miss him clearly.”
In Tomkins’ absence, as the only specialist hooker in the Widnes squad, half-back Joe Lyons has been starting at number nine, with youngster Lewis Else making an impact off the bench, including two tries in the Challenge Cup win over Whitehaven on Sunday night.
Finnigan says the club are on the look out for a hooker, but won’t be rushed in to signing someone for the sake of it.
He added: “I wouldn’t bring in someone that isn’t going to fit in the group long-term. I know it could be a loan deal, but they’ve got to fit in to the group.
“And I’m also aware of the two (Lyons and Else), I’m not going to just bring someone in and move them away when they’re putting so much in to it.
“If the right fit is out there and it makes sense for the club, then we can do something. But I’m certainly not going to rush into something and put the club at risk.”