Skipper Sean St Ledger has given Preston North End a fitness scare ahead of their nine-game battle to stay in the Championship.
The centre-half picked up a knee injury during training with the Republic of Ireland squad in Malahide.
St Ledger is believed to have tweaked his medial ligament during a challenge with Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark.
Reports from Dublin initially suggested he could be sidelined for a few weeks.
But it seems that was looking on the pessimistic side, and his recovery should be quicker.
St Ledger is doubtful for the Republic’s Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia in Dublin on Saturday night, when he was due to win his 18th senior cap.
They also play World Cup semi-finalists Uruguay in a friendly next Tuesday.
North End are next in action when promotion hopefuls Swansea City visit Deepdale a week on Saturday.
With central defenders thin on the ground at Preston at the moment, it is hoped that St Ledger is fit for that game.
In the past he has tended to recover from injuries quickly.
Before the international break, St Ledger was playing alongside Craig Morgan in the centre of defence.
They were paired together after Leon Cort suffered a hamstring strain in the 1-1 draw at Norwich earlier this month.
With Cort sidelined, teenager Bailey Wright was providing defensive cover on the bench. Wayne Brown hasn’t been in the squad for more than a month after falling out of favour.
So even without this injury scare for St Ledger, Preston boss Phil Brown was already looking at the loan market to bolster his defensive options.
He has until teatime today to complete any business before the Football League’s loan window shuts for the season.
Meanwhile, Brown thinks Amine Linganzi could still have a part to play in the relegation battle.
The midfielder, on loan from Blackburn, lasted just 44 minutes of his debut against Leicester in January before pulling up with a groin injury.
He’s since undergone surgery to repair a hernia, and was at Deepdale last Saturday to watch the win over Coventry.
Said Brown: “Amine had an injection at his parent club a few days ago to help with his recovery.
“It’s not been easy for him – he’s been out for two months.
“He’s one of the players having to play catch-up because of injury.
“If we can get a good couple of weeks’ work into him, Amine might play some part between now and the end of the season.
“Let’s wait and see how he goes on.”