Everton striker James Vaughan's imminent knee surgery has ruled him out until the new year and manager David Moyes' resources up front could yet be depleted further.
Vaughan was injured in training on Friday and the club's medical staff have decided the best course of action for rectifying the cartilage problem is an operation.
Fortunately for the 20-year-old it his right knee and not a recurrence of the injury which forced him to miss the majority of the 2005-06 campaign and the final three months of last season.
However, he will be sidelined for several weeks and with Louis Saha complaining of hamstring problems, it could leave Moyes with only two fully-fit senior strikers - Ayegbeni Yakubu and Victor Anichebe - for Sunday's trip to Tottenham.
"James twisted his right knee last Friday,'' said Everton head physio Mick Rathbone. "He will be out until the new year. The only saving grace is that it is not the knee he has had so much trouble with in the past.
"It's a terrible shame for James after all the problems he's had in the past. But, unfortunately, that's football.''
Former Manchester United striker Saha, who missed the first month of the season with injury, was substituted in last night's 1-0 defeat at Wigan after complaining of tight hamstrings.
He will be monitored throughout this week to see whether he has a chance of travelling to White Hart Lane.
On the positive side, midfielder Steven Pienaar's recovery from a knee injury is going well.
The 26-year-old missed South Africa's friendly with Cameroon last week with a bruised knee, which also ruled him out of contention at the JJB.
"Steve's making progress this week but it's too soon to say if he'll be available for the Spurs game,'' Rathbone told the club's website.