BOURNEMOUTH Poppies striker Scott Joyce is set for three months on the sidelines after discovering a broken his collar bone 24 hours after a work accident.

Tree surgeon Joyce carried on working after landing on a wall and only realised the snapped bone sticking out of his shoulder after the swelling had started to subside.

The former Poole and Wimborne front man went under the surgeon’s knife on Wednesday, and while the operation was successful, Poppies’ top scorer with 11 goals in as many starts this season will be out until after the New Year.

Joyce told the Daily Echo: “I did it in the morning and carried on working because I wasn’t in that much pain. I had my uncle’s wedding on the afternoon and got through that but the next day it just didn’t feel right.

“I should have gone to hospital straight away but I honestly didn’t think it was that bad. It was pretty sore but I didn’t imagine it would be as bad as it is now.

“I am gutted, especially missing the FA Vase game. Just as I was getting back to full fitness and finding form again this happens, but I’ve just got to get on with it and get back as soon as I can.

“They have said the recovery time is about six weeks and I would have thought I can get back to training then. It is down to how quickly I heal but hopefully I can start playing again in January, that is my realistic aim.”

The news is a crushing blow to Poppies who have stuttered so far this season, but Joyce remains upbeat about the team’s progress in recent weeks with a host of new faces coming in.

The stricken forward added: “Kenny (Vaughan, manager) has had to rebuild after losing quite a few players at the end of last season and it takes a while to gel. It has been a really slow start for us but we’ve had a few coming in and going out.

“You look at teams like Christchurch who have been together for a few years now and they are top of the league. We are building the side and I think once we get one or two players in, maybe in midfield, we can end the season strongly.”

Meanwhile, boss Vaughan, whose side host GE Hamble tomorrow (KO 3pm) has moved quickly to replace Joyce, filing an approach for an unnamed Wessex Premier striker.

Vaughan said: “We hope to get someone signed because he’ll be out for a little while. I do have someone in mind and the seven days will be up on Tuesday, so we’ll see what happens.”

Poppies will be able to call on Aaron Corby, Martin Warren and Luke Ayrton who were cup tied in midweek.

Poppies: (from) Vaughan, Wilson, Jackson, Clarke, Crutcher, Ward, Maguire, Phillipson-Masters, Swann, Saadi, Phillips, Molyneaux, Lepage, Watt, Hatch, Coverley, Corby, Warren, Ayrton, Purdy, Jones (g/k).