Goalkeeper Ross Turnbull has been ruled out for the rest of the season after being sent by Leeds United for another ankle operation.
Turnbull is to undergo fresh surgery on the ankle he broke in a training-ground match in October last year, and Leeds plan to extend his recovery period beyond the end of the current Championship campaign.
The former Chelsea keeper, whose only senior appearance of this term came in a League Cup defeat to Doncaster Rovers in August, was hurt badly in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Thorp Arch less than two weeks before the sacking of former head coach Uwe Rosler.
Current boss, Steve Evans, has not been able to call on the 31-year-old at any stage of his reign.
Evans said: “He needs a minor procedure on the same ankle so we’ll be talking the middle of April by the time he’s ready to train again.
“The season’s as good as finished by then so it would be stupid to throw him into any games at that stage.
“It’s much better that he gets himself right in the summer and comes back 100 per cent next season.”
Turnbull signed a two-year deal when he joined United from Barnsley last summer and he is under contract for the 2016-17 season.
In his absence, Leeds have used young academy product Bailey Peacock-Farrell as understudy to first-choice Marco Silvestri and Evans has promised Peacock-Farrell a first-team debut before the season ends.
“It’s something we’ve been planning and when we’re safe (from relegation), Bailey will get his chance to play,” Evans said.
“He’s young and the circumstances have to be right but I want people to see how good a goalkeeper we’ve got there.
“Even though Ross has been injured, Bailey’s deserved to be on the bench. He’s good enough. It’s never been a last resort for us. If it was then we’d have signed some cover.”
Peacock-Farrell’s first professional deal expires in June but Leeds are expected to offer him an extension.