Holwell Sports manager Neil Miller said the club will help promising young midfielder Alfie Gaughan as a family to deal with a season-ending broken leg.
Gaughan suffered a clean break of tibia and fibula after a challenge midway through the second half of their United Counties League match at Raunds.
The severity of the injury, which Miller described as the worst he had seen live, forced the match to be abandoned with Holwell leading 1-0.
The timing of the injury is especially cruelly for the 18-year-old, who is part of the Mansfield Town Academy based at Brooksby Melton College.
“I have seen a few and had one myself, but that was as bad as it gets,” the manager said.
“It was on the far side of the pitch to us, but I think it was a genuine whole-hearted 50-50 and I think just as the player has come through the ball, his momentum raised him up Alfie’s leg.
“He was devastated and the only question he kept asking all the way through was ‘how long am I going to be out for’.
“There was quite a sombre atmosphere afterwards.
“No-one wakes up on a Saturday morning and expects to finish the day in that way.”
Miller added: “We know Mansfield will look after his rehabilitation, and we have to make sure as a club that we are there for anything that Alfie needs.
“If at times he gets low, we have to pick him up and let him know we are always there.
“We are a family and we look after our own.”
Gaughan was taken straight to Kettering General Hospital where surgery was carried out the following day to insert a rod between tibia and fibula to bring the bones back into place.
News of the incident drew widespread messages of support and encouragement on social media throughout UCL Premier and Division One clubs.
Miller added: “Pretty much every Holwell player stayed at Alfie’s side until the ambulance arrived, and that’s a sign of how together we are.
“Raunds were also fantastic and we have to thank them, too.
“There were about 15 fans of both sides who gave up their coats to help keep Alfie warm.”
Gaughan is expected to be sidelined for nine months, but Miller insists he has the character to come through rehabilitation and make a successful return to the pitch.
“I know he has the character to do that; he absolutely loves football,” he said.
“He trains three times a week and plays three times a week.
“The one silver lining was that it was a clean break. The doctors say it will heal, and heal stronger than it previously was.
“Hopefully we can see him up there after the next couple of weeks supporting and hopefully by Christmas we will see him in the Green and Gold again.”
Gaughan joined Holwell in the summer and has become a first team regular despite facing the long trip, with his parents, from their Mansfield home.
The summer squad restructure has seen Holwell’s form improve massively from last season’s brief flirtation with relegation
They sit on the cusp of the top 10, unbeaten in 2020, and with just three defeats in their last 15 league outings.
Such is the impact the Stags prospect has made, Miller may now search for a replacement.
“Alfie has a massive engine and works from minute one to minute 90, and will be a massive loss for us this season,” he explained.
“He has a mature head on him for such a young lad and has the ability to play in a different positions, whether it’s in the centre of midfield or out wide on the left or right.
“He has a good future ahead of him. He is very grounded, but has a fire in his belly and is just an all-round good lad.”