Preston goalkeeper Wayne Henderson is set to undergo surgery on his back injury after six weeks of physiotherapy and injections failed to resolve the problem.
"We have made every effort to avoid surgery," he told the Lancashire Evening Post.<P>"However, a time comes when it is clear that, however hard you work, the condition is not going to improve significantly enough. Unfortunately, surgery is now the only option for Wayne."
Henderson is expected to be out for a minimum of three months after the operation.
McKenna returnsHowever, there is some good news for Preston, as midfielder Paul McKenna looks ready to return to first-team action.
McKenna has not played since February as a result of a groin injury but, after playing 90 minutes in a reserve game last week, manager Paul Simpson says he is close to a comeback.
"It's been a really frustrating time for him," he told the club's official website. "He's done very well to keep his head.
"He's kept plugging away, he's been patient, he's done what he's had to do, he's done exactly as the physios and specialists have directed him to do.
"He's back on schedule as we expected him to be and he's looking lively. He's somebody who wants to train, who wants to be involved in football.
"It's good to have him back in the squad and close to being available for first-team football."
ExtensionMeanwhile, winger Joe Anyinsah has agreed to extend his loan at Carlisle.
Anyinsah moved on a one-month deal at the end of September, but will now stay for a further two months.
Carlisle boss John Ward told the club's official website: "Joe himself is happy to stay for a further two months, so it's a good deal all round.
"There will be a 24-hour recall clause for Preston, which is normal, but all parties are happy with that and we're pleased to keep him for another eight weeks."