Plymouth Argyle wing-back George Cooper has had a further injury setback due to a swollen knee.
The 25-year-old was ruled out of the squad for the 2-0 Boxing Day win away to Cheltenham Town and instead has spent Christmas at home in the north-west of England.
Cooper will report back to Home Park next week and the club's medical team will check him out then.
He would not have been fit had the Pilgrims played their scheduled League One home games against Portsmouth on Wednesday and AFC Wimbledon tomorrow, which were postponed due to a Covid outbreak at the club.
However, manager Steven Schumacher is hopeful that Cooper will be available for the away FA Cup third round tie against Birmingham City next Saturday, January 8.
Cooper had made his first start for Argyle in close to 12 months when the Pilgrims beat Rochdale 2-1 in the FA Cup second round on December 5.
He played for 55 minutes in that tie at the Crown Oil Arena before being taken off, and was an unused substitute in the following League One games away to MK Dons and Sunderland and at home to Charlton Athletic.
Prior to Rochdale, Cooper had made only two appearances off the bench this season after knee surgery in January.
Schumacher said: "I thought he did okay against Rochdale. It was a big ask to play straight in after being out for a year and he did well.
"He managed to get into the second half, which was good for him, and then he was available for the next few games on the bench.
"I think when you have had these long term injuries, though, it's a bit like that, you have peaks and troughs. He just had some swelling and inflammation.
"I don't think it's too serious. Hopefully, he will be available for Birmingham. He needs to get going, he needs to get playing and get into a rhythm and then hopefully we will see the best of him."
Cooper signed a three-year contract with Argyle after a successful loan spell from Peterborough United during the 2019/20 League Two promotion-winning campaign.
However, he has made only 14 starts and five substitute appearances since then due to injury issues.
Schumacher added: "If you miss a pre-season you are always playing catch up. Just to get any sort of games and appearances is a bonus.
"I think in George's case it's that. He needs to play, he needs a run of games, he needs to get some confidence in his body really, and get over these little niggles that you get.
"Hopefully, he can get some more minutes. There's 22 (league) games left now so we will just see how it goes. Hopefully, we will see the best of him but, if not, we have always got next year."
Striker Kieran Agard could be a doubt for Plymouth Argyle's FA Cup third round tie away to Birmingham City next weekend, according to manager Steven Schumacher.
The 32-year-old picked up an ankle injury during the 2-0 League One win at Cheltenham Town on Boxing Day.
However, Schumacher had more positive news about Jordon Garrick after the loan signing from Swansea City was substituted late in the game at the Jonny Rocks Stadium with a tight hamstring.
Garrick would almost certainly have missed Argyle's league game against Portsmouth at Home Park on Wednesday had it not been postponed after a Covid outbreak at the club, but should be fine to feature in the FA Cup clash.
Schumacher is planning on attending Birmingham's home Championship game against Queens Park Rangers at St Andrews on Sunday to check out his side's third round opponents.
Agard and Garrick started the game at Cheltenham as Argyle's two strikers, with the latter scoring their second goal for his fifth of the season.
Schumacher said: "Kieran has a little bit of an ankle injury. Someone landed awkward on it in the first half against Cheltenham.
"It swelled up and was stiff the day after so he would have been ruled out for Portsmouth. He wouldn't have been on the bench.
"He might be a doubt for Birmingham but we are just waiting on the physios to let us know the extent of that. He's possibly a question mark."
As for Garrick, Schumacher said: "It's not too serious. I think he would have been a doubt for Pompey, definitely, he wouldn't have been able to start the game.
"He just felt a little bit of a spasm in his hamstring. He would probably have been unavailable even for the bench.
"We hadn't trained so we didn't fully know the extent of that but he will be okay, I think, especially for Birmingham. It should be alright."
Argyle sold out their initial allocation of 1,200 tickets for the FA Cup tie at Birmingham but have now received another 500 which have gone on general sale.
The match at St Andrews will kick-off at 5.30pm on Saturday, January 8 and be televised live overseas, with both clubs receiving a £32,500 broadcast fee.
A piece of FA Cup history will also be made as Rebecca Welch becomes the first female referee to take charge of a third round tie.
agard & garrick update