Graeme Murty has been ruled out of Southampton's home clash with Tranmere.
The unfortunate defender has only recently returned to action after three months out with a knee injury, but he has now suffered ankle ligament damage and is expected to be missing until the new year.
Midfielder Lloyd James will probably revert to right-back in Murty's absence, although centre-half Wayne Thomas could also fill in.
Saints are boosted by the return of Senegalese striker Papa Waigo, who missed last weekend's win at Walsall with a back injury.
Waigo will be on the bench with in-form duo Rickie Lambert and David Connolly starting in attack.
Bartosz Bialkowski continues in goal with club captain Kelvin Davis recovering from a groin injury.
Tranmere caretaker boss Les Parry has no new injury concerns.
Striker Bas Savage (Achilles) and midfielder Alan Mahon (ankle) remain sidelined but Parry has no other worries.
On-loan Manchester City defender Shaleum Logan has been struggling with an abductor problem but he played the full 90 minutes in Tuesday's FA Cup tie at Aldershot.
The 2-1 second-round replay victory extended Rovers' unbeaten run in all competitions to five matches and has left Parry in buoyant mood.
He said: "The lads are performing consistently, which is what we always wanted.
"You can see the togetherness among the lads and there are things that are working during matches that we have practised on the training field."
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