Birmingham central defender Matthew Upson is facing several months out of action to add to his side's misery after they slid closer towards the Premiership relegation trapdoor.
Upson suffered a suspected ruptured Achilles during the warm-up before Sunday's 3-1 derby defeat at Aston Villa, after being poised to return after a two-month lay-off with groin and pelvic problems.
Then two-goal Milan Baros piled on the agony for Steve Bruce's side to leave Birmingham in the bottom three and three points adrift of Portsmouth with just four games remaining.
Bruce, who also lost key midfielder David Dunn with a calf injury in the first half, said: 'We will know the results of a scan that Matty had in hospital after the game in the next 24 hours but I do fear the worst.
'We fear the Achilles is ruptured. Is that him out for the rest of the year? I don't want to speculate but it's not looking good for Matty if it's what we think it is.
'Our thoughts are with him after being out for the best part of three months.
'We have nursed him back to make sure he is right. He has trained, played 60 minutes for the reserves. We didn't rush him back. Then that happens.
'With Dunny getting injured early in the game as well and Jiri Jarosik suffering a hamstring injury in training on Saturday, it just about sums our season up.'
But Bruce insisted: 'We have got four games left. We are not going to give up the ghost. We've got to try and get a result against Blackburn on Wednesday and keep the pressure on.
'Portsmouth are in the driving seat. They've had an incredible run, although they were fortunate again in playing half a Middlesbrough team after half an Arsenal team and half a West Ham team. That helps but all credit to them.'
David O'Leary is determined to bring the good times back to Villa after seeing his side banish any thoughts of being sucked into a relegation battle.
He said: 'The only other time Villa Park has rocked like it did on Sunday was when we played Bolton in the Carling Cup semi-final a couple of years back.
'I am the one that wants to be here to put this club right. You've got to take the blows and the critics. There is a stadium that can be filled with passionate fans if you give them the right thing.
'The fans asked me when I came here to make Villa top dogs in the city again. I've done that every year but I want to look at bigger aims than that.
'This city deserves a club that is challenging in the league properly and that's what I want to try to do, but only time will tell on that. This club has the potential to do that.'
Chris Sutton cancelled out the opener from Baros with his first goal for Blues, but rookie defender Gary Cahill restored Villa's lead with a stunning volley.
Then Baros made sure of victory for Villa with his 12th goal of the campaign.