Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be out for up to six weeks with a knee problem, leaving them without a senior forward for Saturday's Premier League opener against Chelsea at home, manager Frank Lampard said on Thursday.
The Merseyside club sold Brazilian Richarlison to Tottenham Hotspur in the close season and Salomon Rondon is suspended for the game having picked up a red card against Brentford last season, leaving Lampard with lack of firepower up front.
"Losing a player like Dominic, with his quality, in the week going into the first game is going to affect you," Lampard told a news conference.
"I think we're probably looking at around six weeks for the injury. I saw a lot of crazy rumours yesterday, but he's been assessed over a couple of days and that's where we're at.
"It comes with the territory of having a squad and training at this level. We'll have to work around it. Other players will have to step up and do the job and hopefully that six weeks passes relatively quickly and we get Dominic back."
Lampard said the problem was that Calvert-Lewin, who scored five goals in 18 appearances during an injury-hit 2021-22 campaign, had suffered a fresh issue.
"Dominic was looking great - really fit, really strong. I've taken him out of one pre-season game as a precaution but through pre-season we were constantly commenting on how good he looks. It was very positive," Lampard said.
"So, it's a knock for everybody, particularly for him because I know the feeling as a player when you're getting pumped up and ready for a new season.
"I feel for him but we'll support him... then as a team and a squad we have to look at the games in front of us."
Everton were dragged into a relegation battle last season before finishing 16th with 39 points from 38 games.