Manchester United have suffered a major defensive blow with confirmation that John O'Shea is set to miss the rest of the season.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has been plagued with defensive injury problems throughout the season and has now revealed that O'Shea is likely to sit out the remainder of the campaign.
The versatile 28-year-old been sidelined since mid-November with an injury picked up while playing for the Republic of Ireland.
The defender suffered a dead leg during Ireland's World Cup play-off defeat to France and was expected to miss only a few weeks of Premier League action.
However, a complication has led to O'Shea missing United's last 15 games and the likelihood is that his season is now over.
"He's got a terrible injury at the moment," Ferguson said in the Irish Independent.
"It's one of those sorts of injuries that are unusual. It's like a dead leg except a dead leg is usually only three or four days.
"The problem is that the blood clot became all knotted and when it gets knotted you get calcification so therefore it's a long process to clear that up and he'll probably miss the season now.
"It's a bad blow for the boy and for the team because he can play anywhere.
"When you look at all the problems I've had with the back four this season, he could have played every single one."