Tottenham's push for a top-four finish is unlikely to receive much help from Jonathan Woodgate after the England defender rejoined the clubs long-term casualty list.
Summer surgery on a groin problem has not worked as the 29-year-old has managed just three appearances so far, with Spurs manager Harry Redknapp admitting that medical experts are undecided on when he might contribute again.
This is the latest blow to Woodgate's career after injury setbacks at his three previous clubs, Middlesbrough, Real Madrid and Newcastle United.
''I don't know what the next step is,'' said Redknapp, whose third-placed side travel to Everton tomorrow. ''Everybody is coming up with different opinions. Some want to inject it, others want to do an operation.
''Those type of injuries are the worst. With a broken ankle at least you know what you are dealing with. With these they can drag on forever.''
With Ledley King also out with a hamstring problem Redknapp can take just two recognised centre-backs to Goodison Park in Michael Dawson and Sébastien Bassong.
But Redknapp said he was not planning to buy another next month, preferring instead to wait until the summer in the hope that their chairman, Daniel Levy, will provide the funding to lure ''world-class'' players so a genuine title challenge can be launched.
''We are on our way to becoming a top club,'' he said. ''I don't think we need too much in the window, unless anybody goes. But then come the summer we may improve in one or two positions, that's how it works.
''There's no magic recipe to challenge for the league. It depends if you can buy the right players.
''If Daniel says I can go out and buy two players in the summer – two fantastic players – then who knows what we can achieve? With a couple of great players it can happen.''
Redknapp's squad has held strong in the first third of the season and he is unlikely to make radical changes next month, although Brazil's defensive midfielder Sandro is a target from Internacional.
''We're also looking around for a goalkeeper but I haven't got anyone near to bringing in,'' said Redknapp.
Redknapp also insists Giovani dos Santos will stay at the club now he has recovered from an ankle injury. ''Giovani is okay,'' he said. ''He's trained but is short on match-practice. He needs 90 minutes in the reserves. I'm looking forward to getting him back fit, he's a good young player and was in great form before he got injured. "Reuse content