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Wrexham’s hopes of securing a double promotion have been bolstered by the news that star goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo is facing weeks, rather than months, on the sidelines.
The 22-year-old saw a specialist on Monday after breaking his jaw in the first half of a recent 2-2 draw away to Harrogate Town.
Okonkwo took a knee to the face and looked in real discomfort as he was forced off, replaced in goal by veteran deputy Mark Howard.
Mail Sport understands that Okonkwo is now expected to undergo minor surgery following specialist advice.
While there is no clear timeframe on his return – there is the potential he could return sooner with use of a mask or headgear to support his jaw – sources indicate that it is a case of weeks on the sidelines.
Arthur Okonkwo is to undergo surgery after breaking his draw in a 2-2 draw at Harrogate Town
Phil Parkinson will hope to have his loan shot-stopper back in weeks, rather than months
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The on-loan shot-stopper was brave in the first half against Harrogate when he collided with striker Josh March.
Boss Phil Parkinson later explained that the medical team advised to take Okonkwo off as he was ‘dazed at half time’.
It was later stressed that it was not ‘serious’ or as bad as first feared and there is hope he will be back early in the new year.
It means that Parkinson will not be forced to dip into the transfer market for another goalkeeper in January.
Okonkwo has been a revelation at Wrexham this season and is out of contract in the summer
With Rob Lainton struggling with injury all season, Okonkwo being sidelined means Parkinson has just two senior goalkeepers available in Howard and Luke McNicholas.
Okonkwo, who is set to be a free agent in the summer when his Arsenal contract expires, has been a revelation for Wrexham this season since arriving and usurping Ben Foster and Howard as the side’s No 1.
The Dragons, co-owned by Hollywood pair Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, are targeting a double promotion after setting a record points total last season in winning the Vanarama National League.
Parkinson’s side are currently second in League Two, five points adrift of Stockport County, and are also into the third round of the FA Cup, where they take on fierce rivals Shrewsbury Town.