Sunderland striker Fraizer Campbell is to undergo a second knee operation which will rule him out for the bulk of next season after missing all but four games of the 2010-11 term.
The Black Cats have confirmed that the 23-year-old's cruciate ligament damage needs a second operation.
Manager Steve Bruce revealed his fears over Campbell last week, and they have now been realised, and with loan signing Danny Welbeck struggling with a hamstring problem, he faces heading into Saturday's crucial Premier League clash with Wigan with only one fit senior striker.
Campbell initially suffered his injury during the 1-0 victory over Manchester City on August 29, and was in line to return against the same opposition on April 3 when he twisted his knee again in training.
The club's medics had hoped he had suffered only a minor setback, but examinations revealed the full extent of the damage and that surgery is now the only option.
Campbell will have his operation just 48 hours after keeper Craig Gordon headed into theatre for a procedure to address his own knee problem.
The Scotland international will be sidelined for between four and six months.
Sunderland have paid a heavy cost for injuries this season, and in particular knee problems, to the extent that Bruce has launched an inquiry into the reasons.
Fitness concerns in general have had a seriously detrimental effect on the club's hopes of securing a top-10 finish, and defeat at Birmingham on Saturday - their eighth in nine league games - left them sitting in 15th place in the table, just five clear of the relegation zone with as many fixtures left to play