Leyland captain David Makinson fears the shock exit of leading run scorer Alex Ross could harm their title charge.
Australian batsman Ross has been called up to South Australia’s pre-season training squad and will leave Fox Lane on August 11.
It is believed to be the first time an overseas player has left Leyland mid-way through a season.
And Makinson thinks the club, who are second in the Northern League Division One table, could struggle to retain their title after the departure of Ross.
He said: “We’ve just found out Alex will be leaving the club and missing a lot of games.
“He has been called back to Australia to join the South Australia state side’s pre-season.
“Obviously we are gutted to lose him, but he is a good young player and he wants to go back. He’s our leading run scorer and one of the leading batsmen in the whole league.
“It will be a huge loss and it will affect our title chances.”
The Australian batsman, who has amassed 730 runs in 20 games, is set to miss the last seven games of the season.
And Makinson has never experienced losing his star overseas player midway through the season.
He said: “He is the first Australian the club have signed in a long time, we normally have a South African professional and this has never happened before.
“This has happened to other clubs but it is the first time it has happened to Leyland and the first time it has ever happened to a side I’ve been involved with.”
Leyland are on the lookout for a replacement, but they have been boosted in recent weeks by the presence in their line-up of Lancashire star Luis Reece, who can certainly help plug the gap left by Ross.
“We are seeing if we can find a replacement but there is not a lot of scope for overseas amateurs at this stage in the season,” Makinson said.
“Alex will be able to play for us until August, so he will play this weekend.
“It always helps having Luis Reece back, he has not done so well with us this season but he got a big hundred for Lancashire’s second XI on Wednesday so he should be in good form for tomorrow.”
Last weekend, Blackpool defeated Leyland to leap frog over Makinson’s side at the top the table.
The captain is hoping to get back to winning ways tomorrow at league new boys Penrith.
He said: “It wasn’t a surprise defeat, Blackpool have been in good form recently, they have three or four really good players.
“Penrith are a good side even though their league position doesn’t show it, they have some good players.
“We beat them at home but I’ve never played at there place before – never played on the wicket so I’m not sure what to expect.”