Nathan Thomas has suffered a setback in his bid to return from his recent groin operation.
But the 22-year-old has still been pencilled in for a January return.
It looked like he was going to get back early then he had an infection which set him backCraig Hignett
Thomas has been out of action since being stretched off in the second half of the club’s 3-2 away defeat at Barnet in October.
Scans later revealed that he needed an op, and within weeks went under the knife to fix the issue.
A fortnight ago manager Craig Hignett cautiously revealed that Thomas was ahead of schedule in his recovery and could come back early.
But those plans have been shelved after the forward suffered complications.
Still, a return towards the enter of the winter transfer window could be on the cards.
The manager explained: “I feel for Nath. His progress was great, it looked like he was going to get back early then he had an infection which set him back.
“He is back now. Nath says he is going to be fit in two weeks but that is him all over.
“He won’t be back that quick but we do want him back.
“I think at the moment his target is the end of January.”
It is a bit of a Catch-22 situation for the manager.
Hignett is keen to see his talisman return to add pace and width to his struggling side.
But by the same token the manager is keen not to lose Thomas, with an early return, prior to the end of the January window no doubt likely to see suitors circling for his services yet again.
Before his injury the former Mansfield man was watched by Charlton Athletic. Championship side Birmingham City were also rumoured to be considering him, prior to the sacking of Gary Rowett.
Meanwhile, James Martin is still rated as doubtful for the Blackpool clash on Boxing Day.
The youngster is struggling with a knee knock, suffered in the build up to last weekend’s Portsmouth draw.
Hignett says he will have the teenage left-back assessed in the coming days to see whether he is fit enough to come back into the reckoning.
“James is struggling. He is still feeling the injury which kept him out last week,” said the manager.
“We have a couple of niggles after the long journey but we will assess them.
“I’m not expecting anything major.
“I think everyone will be fit.”
One player who will definitely miss out is Rob Jones, though.
Hignett continued: “Rob isn’t right, he’s struggled with his hip and he’s now twisted a knee and he’s still limping about.
“He takes time, we know that.”