Sheffield United's Nick Montgomery has been ruled out of action after scans revealed he has been playing with a broken foot.
The midfielder sustained the injury during the game against Barnsley last December; however the break was not discovered.
It has now been confirmed that Montgomery fractured his fourth metatarsal, and he is expected to miss The Blades' next five games, including Sunday's FA Cup fourth round tie with Manchester City.
Montgomery, who will see a specialist on Monday to devise a recovery programme, has spoken of his devastation at the news.
The 26-year-old said in The Star: "I've been in absolute agony and I'm gutted because it's been one thing after another since the summer. I didn't want to pull out because I didn't want to look like I was just dropping out.
"I'm devastated. I'm going to have to rest it now but I want to be a part of the team that turns our season around."
Manager Bryan Robson hailed Montgomery's character, saying: "He's had injuries to his shoulder, rib, and hip plus pleurisy for starters, but it is a measure of the lad's willingness to go through the pain barrier for this club that he has battled through seven games whilst not being right."
Montgomery's injury all but ends the reported interest from a number of clubs that have been chasing him in the January transfer window.