Harry Redknapp has raised fears over Jonathan Woodgate's career after all but confirming the defender would not be in his 25-man squad for the first half of the Barclays Premier League season.
The 30-year-old has undergone operations and injections, visiting specialists in Australia and the United States in a bid to resolve the groin problem that has plagued him since November.
"Woody's nowhere near at the moment, nowhere near," Redknapp said. "It must be really hard for him at the moment because he's nowhere near kicking a ball. He's been out for nearly a year, been in America and Australia but he's still nowhere near."
This season has seen the Premier League introduce a rule which requires clubs to name a squad of 25 senior players by the end of the summer transfer window.
Other than introducing under-21 players, teams are barred from making changes to that list until January.
"I couldn't put Woody in my 25," Redknapp said. "It's impossible at the moment.
"You can't have somebody in who's never going to play, if he's not going to be fit.
"He's got to really prove that between now and the start of the season. To have any chance, he's got to be playing, otherwise you couldn't possibly have him in the 25. Not at the moment. He's a long way off now. We'll see how we go in January."
With Ledley King constantly plagued by knee problems, signing a centre-back appears a priority for Redknapp, who is eyeing three new players before the transfer window closes.
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