Motherwell defender Steven Saunders faces at least three further months on the sidelines following knee surgery.
The 21-year-old underwent his operation on Friday after developing a knee problem in pre-season.
Saunders missed the vast bulk of last season after rupturing his Achilles tendon while playing for Scotland Under-21s in August.
Manager Stuart McCall told Press Association Sport: "He's looking to be possibly three months. He has got his head on to be back for Christmas.
"That's what he has got to aim for now. We wish him all the best and hope he can be back for then."
McCall is still trying to add to his squad before Friday's transfer deadline but no signing is imminent ahead of their trip to Spain for the second leg of their Europa League play-off against Levante, who won 2-0 at Fir Park last week.
"We've made a couple of enquiries on players," McCall said.
"If it's a player that you're trying to get that will improve your team, then more often than not other clubs are after him and Motherwell are probably three or four on his list.
"Until those teams drop out you are just waiting and waiting and then there is not a lot you can do.
"We would like to try and get somebody in before the deadline."