Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson admits he has been poring over all aspects of their approach to try and end their spate of injuries at the back.
Goalkeeper Trevor Carson became the latest long-term absentee when he suffered a meniscus tear against Ross County last weekend.
The Northern Ireland international – who previously recovered from deep vein thrombosis – will be out until the new year after undergoing knee surgery.
His deputy, Scott Fox, previously suffered an even worse knee injury before he could make his debut, while Charles Dunne (groin), Bevis Mugabi (shoulder), Jake Carroll (Achilles) and Liam Donnelly (knee) are also in the midst of lengthy lay-offs.
Robinson is also without Liam Grimshaw and Ricki Lamie again for Saturday’s Premiership clash at Livingston, and will have a youthful bench with on-loan Lions midfielder Robbie Crawford ineligible.
On Carson’s blow, Robinson said: “For him personally, he has fought back from his illness and it’s just so unfortunate.
“Listen, it could have been worse, when we first saw it. We wish him a speedy recovery and we are desperate to get him back as quick as we can.
“He is certainly not having any luck but he is in quite a positive frame of mind and he knows he will hopefully be back just after Christmas.
“We have got an incredible injury list at the moment and, the worst thing is, they are injuries you can’t control.
“I’m the first person to look at myself and my staff and what we are doing. We have a brilliant medical department and there is one muscle injury out of all the injuries.
“I think we have got six knee injuries, which are uncontrollable.
“You look at the pitches, you look at everything, and they are all being done in different areas, at different times. Even down to their boots, we are looking at.
“It’s just a really unfortunate time for us and the players who are injured.
“But in adversity then the young ones get chances. I think we will have eight academy boys involved on Saturday, either starting or on the bench.
“We are a club who gives them opportunities. We will have young Max Johnston on the bench, who I believe is going to be a top, top footballer. He is 16 years of age and, you never know, he might get his debut on Saturday.”
Recent arrival Aaron Chapman made his debut in goal after Carson went off in Saturday’s 4-0 win and he is expected to continue with Scotland international Jordon Archer on the bench after signing in midweek.
“To be honest I think we got a little bit lucky with that, you can only sign free agents at this stage of the season and to sign someone who has played international football and the level he has, it worked for both of us,” Robinson said.
“It’s a short-term contract and he will fight with Aaron for a place.”
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