JOSH Vela faces a number of weeks on the side-lines after scans confirmed significant damage to his ankle.

The midfielder will be sent to see a specialist this afternoon to assess surgery options on the injury sustained in the 3-2 defeat to Leeds United.

It is not yet known exactly how much football the 23-year-old will miss but Ken Anderson admitted yesterday the prognosis “does not look good.”

Vela has been a key figure for Wanderers over the last 12 months and missed just one game in league and cup last season, scoring 10 goals.

Phil Parkinson may now have to consider his options in the transfer market with three weeks remaining in the window and look for reinforcements.

He will also have to do without David Wheater for the meantime, as the centre-half struggled to overcome a back injury.

It is understood the problem has hampered him through pre-season and he will not be available for selection at Crewe in the Carabao Cup tomorrow night or in the Championship clash at Millwall this weekend.

Parkinson is looking to make several changes at Gresty Road tomorrow night with Will Buckley, Ben Alnwick, Mark Little, Derik Osede and Adam Armstrong all likely to feature.

Filipe Morais could also see his first action of the season, having recovered sufficiently from a knee injury. But Parkinson will be unable to make wholesale changes because of the peculiarities of the EFL embargo rules, which restrict him from playing the likes of Jeff King, Alex Perry, Jake Turner and Conor Hall – who were all given professional deals this summer.

“It is a bit strange,” admitted the Wanderers boss. “We can play the third-year scholars but can’t play anyone who is a first year pro because as soon as they step foot on the pitch they count as one of our 23 going forward.

“Once again it’s a restriction which is a shame for those young players who we’d like to have given time to. It’s going over old ground, because we know the rules.”