MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 21: Matthew Allison of the Saints kicks during a St Kilda Saints AFL training session at RSEA Park on November 21, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Fringe St Kilda forward Matt Allison will undergo surgery on a foot fracture that will keep the 20-year-old out of action for approximately 16-20 weeks, in what is another blow to Ross Lyon's key forward stocks ahead of the club's 150th campaign.

The third-year Saint, who joined the club as a first-round selection at the 2020 AFL draft, was seen as a strong chance to earn an AFL debut in Round 1 following pre-season injuries to fellow tall forwards Max King (shoulder) and Jack Hayes (foot).

King is expected to miss the opening month of the 2023 season after requiring shoulder surgery late last year, while Hayes faces multiple months on the sidelines and looms doubtful to feature in St Kilda's Round 1 bout with Fremantle in mid-March.

The pair of setbacks have opened up opportunities for the Saints' second-string forwards to press their case for a call-up for what will be Lyon's first game back as senior coach.

Impressing over the course of the pre-season, Allison's prospects of playing his first senior match were on the rise prior to suffering a navicular fracture this week.

The club confirmed on Friday that Allison would undergo surgery in the coming days, eliminating his chances of a Round 1 debut.

“Matt had really been impressing on the track, so for this to happen is very disappointing,” Performance, Medical and Operations Manager David Misson said.

“Following consultations with specialists we elected to send Matt in for surgery to have the foot stabilised.

“While the recovery time is 16 – 20 weeks, which is significant, Matt's a really positive and professional young man.

“He goes into this period of rehabilitation with the whole club behind him.”

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The Strathmore product has played 26 games for St Kilda's VFL affiliate Sandringham since arriving at Linton Street, however, has split his time between both forward and defensive arcs for the Zebras for a return of 10 goals.

With Allison now sidelined for up to five months, senior forward Tim Membrey could be partnered by Cooper Sharman in attack, with the 22-year-old the club's only other available recognised key forward.

Lyon could look to utilise ruck-forward hybrid Rowan Marshall as a key cog in his attack to start the season, potentially calling on veteran tall Tom Campbell or untried ruck options Max Heath or Oscar Adams to fill holes in the lineup.

Campbell has battled an Achilles injury to start the new year, while Adams only recently returned to full training following a back complaint.

St Kilda's Round 1 clash against Fremantle is scheduled for Sunday, March 19 at Marvel Stadium.