Jonathan Woodgate has suffered a fresh injury set-back, Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has confirmed.
The Middlesbrough-born stopper has been sidelined with a groin injury, which has prevented him from playing this season.
Spurs had hoped Woodgate would soon be closing on a return, with Michael Dawson also out with an Achilles problem and Ledley King hampered by a hamstring issue.
But Woodgate is still some way off recovering, Redknapp has stated.
"Woodgate's nowhere near playing again," Redknapp told the Daily Mirror.
"He went to see a specialist again and he just can't train.
"We haven't got to the bottom of the injury at all, what's causing him discomfort."
Sebastian Bassong has been given the all-clear after being stretched off against Chelsea on Sunday, but he is unlikely to be risked for their Carling Cup tie at Preston.
With so few options, midfielder Tom Huddlestone looks set to play alongside Vedran Corluka.
Standing by his King
Redknapp also insisted that the club are continuing to back King, despite his fresh injury woes.
"When you don't train all week and then try to put yourself under pressure, it can happen," said Redknapp.
"But he's the most fantastic person and player, and he's so important for us. But if you don't train you can't just go out and play without doing hamstrings, groins or calves.
"Ledley's that good that it's a difficult one, especially as I have no one else, so if he's fit he's in my team.
"Central defenders like that are difficult to come by, and Ledley's up there in the John Terry class when he's fit. He's just picked up a couple of injuries in the last few weeks, and that's concerned me."