Auxerre's fight against relegation from the French top flight was dealt a heavy blow today when captain Benoit Pedretti was ruled out for the rest of the season.
The 30-year-old holding midfielder suffered a setback in his recovery from an adductor muscle problem yesterday and was unable to train today.
Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez announced at the end of this morning's session that the former Marseille and Lyon player would take no further part in their bid to avoid the drop.
"Despite all the care he has received in recent weeks, Benoit struggled when running on Tuesday and the decision was made on Wednesday morning, with the medical staff, that surgery was unavoidable," said Fernandez.
"He will undergo surgery in Lyon next week and his season is therefore over."
Auxerre, who qualified for this season's UEFA Champions League by finishing third last season, are currently third-bottom in Ligue 1 with only eight matches remaining.
"Benoit is the leader of the team and the boss on the pitch who gives the guidelines for his team-mates to follow," rued Fernandez.
"I was counting on his return for the final stretch of the championship. We really didn't need this now. And his absence will seriously complicate the end of our season."