Wigan Athletic have suffered another major injury blow with the news that goalkeeper Chris Kirkland will be out of action for up to six weeks.
The England man will undergo surgery on a torn finger ligament suffered in training, ruling him out of much of the club's battle against relegation from the Premiership.
Latics physio Alan Tomlinson could not state exactly how long he expected Kirkland to be sidelined for, but admitted it would be a lengthy absence.
Tomlinson told the club's official website: "It's hard to tell as ever with injuries and as a rule I don't like to put time scales in place because it can vary depending upon how quickly the injury heals.
"That said it is a pretty straightforward procedure and I would envisage he'll be playing within six weeks."
Kirkland endured a string of injuries during his time at Liverpool but this is the first problem he has picked up since joining Paul Jewell's side.
"I have been ever present so far this season which will obviously stop now, but I have had a good run and in myself I feel fitter now than I have for several seasons," Kirkland said.
"I'm viewing this as a minor setback and just one of those strange injuries that happen from time to time.
"I'm not going to get down about it that's for sure."
Wigan are already without striker Henri Camara, midfielder Paul Scharner and defender Arjan De Zeeuw through injury.