Alex Neil doubts that Preston North End winger Billy Bodin will be back this season from the serious knee injury he suffered on the eve of the campaign.
The 26-year-old ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament four days before the start of the season.
A seven-month absence was talked about initially but that always looked to be on the optimistic side.
Speaking at Springfields on Wednesday morning ahead of the trip to Ipswich Town on Saturday, North End manager Neil said: “It was always looking like the full season.
“Billy did his knee, he has needed surgery and we need to nurse him back to health.
“I very much doubt he will be back and featuring this season.
“That is where we are at with Billy.”
Bodin was injured in training on the Tuesday before the campaign’s opener against QPR.
It happened during a passing drill and in the most innocuous circumstances.
There was no one near him but a twist of the knee was to do so much damage.
At the time it formed part of a double injury blow, Sean Maguire having damaged a hamstring tendon a couple of days earlier.
Bodin was a £500,000 signing from Bristol Rovers last January.
He had scored 11 goals for Rovers in League One in the first half of last season, that form catching PNE’s eye.
Bodin made 16 starts and three substitute appearances for Preston last term, scoring in the 3-0 win at Nottingham Forest.
He won his first senior Wales cap against Uruguay in March.
During pre-season Bodin had been in good form, scoring a fine goal in the friendly with West Ham at Deepdale.
North End have since had a second player suffer the same cruciate ligament injury.
Josh Harrop damaged his knee in the 3-2 home defeat to West Bromwich at the end of September.
He recently had surgery in Leeds to repair the damage and will miss the remainder of the season.