Sunderland striker David Connolly faces a further spell on the sidelines after undergoing a hernia operation.
Connolly, who is in the final year of his contract, has made just one brief substitute's appearance for the Black Cats in over 12 months.
Roy Keane recently revealed he was looking to send the forward out on loan as Connolly worked his way back to fitness after a hip operation at the end of last season.
However, the Sunderland boss has now confirmed that Connolly has met with a setback and it will be several weeks before he is fit to return to training.
"Dave has had an operation on a hernia and we'll see how his recovery goes in the next few weeks," Keane told the Sunderland Echo.
"He had an operation near the end of last season, but was not comfortable with what had gone on, so we will continue to inquire.
"He seems a lot happier with this operation and we're hoping that we've got to the bottom of his problem.
"It has been a frustrating time for him and he's seen more specialists than many players would have.
"But we're hoping that if this is the job sorted then we're probably looking at three or four weeks before he can get out training properly again."