KWAME THOMAS will play no further part in Wrexham's promotion challenge and Dean Keates says the striker could be out of action for up to nine months.

The Reds' nine goal leading scorer ruptured his left Achilles' in training on Thursday and is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

Not only will Thomas miss the rest of the 2020-21 National League season, Keates expects the frontman to be be ruled out for at least six months.

"He has just gone up for a header and as he landed we heard the scream," said Keates.

"One of the lads was in the region of it and said he heard the click.

"The sheer pain that the lad was in after that, it wasn't going to settle down so straight away we knew the worst.

"We got him straight off to hospital and scanned, and unfortunately for Kwame it is going to be a long journey, a long process.

"He is looking at six to nine months. But we will make sure he gets all the right treatment and we will look after him going forward."

Summer signing Thomas experienced a quiet first half of the season, scoring three goals, but the 25-year-old struck five times during a fantastic February.

Another goal arrived in the 2-2 draw with Eastleigh on March 16 and the upturn in form helped put Wrexham in the top seven after losing once in 14 outings.

Thomas was missing on Friday as Wrexham lost 1-0 at play-off rivals Notts County and Keates says he will be a big loss in the run-in.

"He was in and out first half of the season but he got his opportunity," said Keates.

"He has been absolutely immense over this period that we are in now to get us to where we are now in the league.

"It is a massive blow, It is unfortunate but we will support him and make sure he is in the right frame of mind going forward."

Thomas was in the stands at Meadow Lane as Wrexham continued the promotion push without him and Keates said: "He is in a good, upbeat mindset.

"He came to the game because he wanted to be a part of the group. That is what Kwame is about, he offers so much for the team even though he can't give us what we want on the pitch."

It got worse for Keates as Jordan Ponticelli - Thomas' replacement - went off with a hamstring injury against the Magpies leaving Dior Angus as the only recognised striker as Jake Bickerstaff is on loan at Caernarfon and can't be recalled

Keates is unable to make permanent or loan signings and can only recruit free agents as he looks to bolster his attacking options and the Reds' boss has already started to make enquiries.

"I had a conversation with the powers that be," said Keates. "Now it is just out of contract players with our situation.

"I was always leaning towards not looking for someone who has not been anywhere from the first half of the season; we have got to get them fit.

"We have got to look at that situation now and we have to address it; we need another body, there is no denying that.

"I will make a few phone calls and see what is about, and see whether we can pull a rabbit out of the hat."

Ponticelli has endured a stop-start season because of hamstring problems and he only lasted 28 minutes against County.

"It is bad luck for the lad," said Keates. "I thought he was at the point where he was ready to go back in and play.

"But for the first 20 minutes I thought he played really well with Dior. He showed it is not just about Dior and Kwame."

When asked whether he might need to sign more than one striker, Keates added: "We will assess JP. Is there going to be two strikers around? That is the thing."