NEWPORT Gwent Dragons director of rugby Lyn Jones will attempt to sign a centre after being left down to his last two men in midfield.
A morale-boosting 27-25 pre-season win against English champions Northampton in Ebbw Vale on Friday was marred by Pat Leach suffering a blow to his right knee.
The 29-year-old is expected to be out for six to eight weeks after getting caught in a ruck and joins Ashley Smith and Ross Wardle on the sidelines.
Smith suffered a foot injury when scoring a try against Zebre in March and is targeting an October comeback while Wardle is out until the New Year after rupturing knee ligaments in April.
It means that Jones has no option but to pair talented teenage Wales Under-20s centres Jack Dixon and Tyler Morgan together against Connacht in Saturday's Guinness Pro12 opener in Galway.
Their back-up is currently 17-year-old Barney Nightingale but Jones is reluctant to throw the Newport High School student in at the deep end despite the academy prospect showing his potential against the Saints and Bristol in pre-season.
"Midfield is an issue that I've got to deal with," said the director of rugby. "But anybody who is anybody at this time of year is accounted for.
"It's a busy time in the Currie Cup (in South Africa) and ITM Cup (in New Zealand) while anybody in the UK is either signed up or injured.
"If we've got to go into the academy that's what we will do but I'd prefer to pick up somebody experienced. We'll take a little look in the market."
Jones was delighted with his charges' efforts against the formidable Saints pack in the rain at Eugene Cross Park and admits he faces some selection headaches.
"We are improving and one of the ingredients of success is team spirit and a good culture," he said. "We've brought good people in who want to play for each other.
"Competition in the squad is going to be strong and we've got good players coming off the bench, which is something that the region has not had for a long time."