Hartlepool United winger Ryan Donaldson has suffered a serious setback in his bid to return from injury.
The 26-year-old has been forced to go under the knife for a second time in less than two months, after complications arose with his ankle problem.
Donaldson had been pencilled in for a return this weekend, having not kicked a ball since October.
But his first-team return has had to be postponed to get to the bottom of the issue.
“Ryan has had complications,” said manager Craig Harrison.
“He has had to go in for a second surgery.
“That has put him back a month. Maybe he will be back March.”
With Donaldson out and Jack Munns also not in contention, Harrison is light in the wide areas.
He also has less options that he had hoped for in the centre of the park.
“Nicky Featherstone is out, so too is Luke George,” said the manager.
“Luke has had his third lot of injections in his back and he will need another week to 10 days for that to settle down.
“The hamstring problems are coming from a disk issue in his back.
“A lot of high profile players have had this injection from, I think, the only medical professional in the country who administers them.
“Phil Bulmer managed to speak to Steven Gerrard - he went to the same person. It was the deciding factor when Gerrard said he wouldn’t have been able to play as many games as he did without that.
“Hopefully that will fix the problem for him.
“We are hoping he should be back involved after Eastleigh.”
Pools travel to the south coast on January 27.