Preston North End’s Tommy Spurr looks to have played his last game on loan at Fleetwood Town as boss Joey Barton says he will be surprised if he features for his side again.
The 31-year-old defender had joined Town on a season-long loan from the Championship side in the summer.
However, Spurr has only made seven appearances for Barton’s side and has not featured since injuring his knee in the 3-1 defeat to Barnsley in September.
Barton, nevertheless, praised the work of Peter Ridsdale, the advisor to North End owner Trevor Hemmings despite admitting he does not expect the defender back at Highbury.
He said: “I have not seen him for a bit, he has gone back to Preston.
“He picked up an injury that probably will take some time.
“He did have that in the background, it has flared up and I will be surprised if he plays for us again.
“I think he has to sort that out at Preston. He is back there, we need to touch base with him.
“I don’t know, in terms of long-term diagnosis, how long he will be out.
“It probably puts him into the New Year which means we have to free up that loan space.
“To be fair to Peter Ridsdale and Preston, they have been first class about it.
“Hopefully we can utilise that spot in the loan market in January.”
Town are back in action on Saturday lunchtime when Walsall visit Highbury.
Although Craig Morgan (illness) and Ched Evans (ankle) missed the FA Cup win at Alfreton Town last weekend, only full-back Eddie Clarke is out of contention.
He limped off in midweek at Bury, where Conor McAleny and Dean Marney both returned.
Barton said: “He (Clarke) has sprinted, felt his hamstring and he will probably miss a couple of weeks.
“Harrison Biggins got an impact injury in the game but he trained on Thursday.
“He is the sort of player you want at the football club because he is a real credit to his background and is desperate to be a football player at this football club.
“We have got good news in terms of players like Marnes and Conor Mac getting 45 minutes the other day.
“We have slightly altered stuff in terms of we want a consecutive body of days training in terms of considering people to start games.
“We are a group that needs everyone fully fit and at it because of the way we want to play.
“We are starting to get that and some consistency in team selection. As a manager I am pleased about that.”