A man suffered a fractured skull after being attacked by two masked thugs near his Hampshire home.
Police say the 29-year-old victim was targeted after leaving his house in Old Milton Road, New Milton, to get some fresh air.
As he walked back to the property he was attacked without warning and hit over the head with a metal object.
A police spokesman said: “The victim returned to his home but began to feel unwell within half-an-hour and alerted friends, who called an ambulance.
“He was taken to Bournemouth Hospital but later transferred to Southampton General, where he is reported to be in a stable condition.”
Det Con Mark Bradley, leading the investigation, added: “This appears to have been a completely unprovoked attack.”
The incident took place in an alleyway between an estate agents and a charity shop.
The two people being sought by police are described as two youths, one taller than the other, who were dressed in black with scarves over their faces.
Police are anxious to hear from anyone who was in the area at 9.45pm on January 8 and saw two men or teenagers matching the description given by the victim.