YORK City are reeling from the “massive blow” of losing top-scorer Ashley Chambers for “quite a long period”.

Chambers has suffered a recurrence of the stomach injury that had made him doubtful for the postponed home match with Gillingham on Saturday.

He will now see a specialist and will play no part in the Minstermen’s festive programme of fixtures, kicking off with this afternoon’s Boxing Day trip to Chesterfield.

Chambers, who has netted eight times this term, is also expected to be sidelined for the opening weeks of 2013.

On Chambers’ setback, disappointed City chief Gary Mills said: “Ashley Chambers definitely won’t be fit for today. He trained on Saturday when the game was called off and he’s gone down with the same problem, which is more to do with his stomach than his groin.

“It’s looking a longer problem than we first thought. I don’t know the extent of damage at this moment in time and he will be seeing a specialist but it’s looking like we might be without him for quite a long period, which is a massive blow for us.“He’s a big loss, especially playing how he did in the last game. When he plays like that, he’s a tremendous player and he has been scoring goals as well.”

Chambers netted twice in the Minstermen’s last outing – the 4-1 home triumph over Bristol Rovers – while also providing the cross for the own goal that opened the scoring.

His absence means Alex Rodman is expected to start against Chesterfield while second-year scholar Reece Kelly is also likely to travel to Derbyshire because fellow wingers Oli Johnson (groin) and Michael Coulson (cruciate) remain crocked.

As a consequence, Mills will now prioritise the recruitment of new attackers when the transfer window reopens on January 1.

He said: “Striker-wise, we have lost three wide players since the start of the season in Ashley Chambers, Michael Coulson and Oli Johnson and that’s a big chunk of our strikeforce.

“That will have to be addressed in the transfer window because Alex Rodman’s loan is also up at the beginning of January and we will have to see what happens there.

“Aldershot might call him back so we don’t know whether he will be an option either.”

The Minstermen are hoping, though, that midfielder Paddy McLaughlin, far left, will be fit for today’s Proact Stadium clash following the bruised lung injury he suffered against Bristol Rovers that would have caused him to miss Saturday’s scheduled meeting with Gillingham.

Mills added: “Paddy’s improving every day and should be okay.”