Liverpool loanee Rhys Williams could miss the start of the season with loan club Aberdeen, with the centre-back facing an indefinite spell with injury.
One of nine Liverpool players currently out on loan, Williams will be hoping to follow long-time team-mate Leighton Clarkson in a breakthrough at Aberdeen.
However, the 22-year-old has already suffered a blow to his progress in Scotland, with persistent back and calf problems leaving him on the sidelines.
Williams featured in the Dons’ opening pre-season friendly against Turriff United, playing 45 minutes in a 9-0 win, but has since missed victory over Fraserburgh FC and defeat to Preston.
Speaking at the weekend, Aberdeen manager Barry Robson revealed this was due to a setback which the club “don’t know how long is going to take.”
“Rhys has had a few issues with his back going into his calves,” Robson explained.
“So he has had to go back and start again with his training regime.”
According to the Daily Record, both Williams and fellow centre-back Angus MacDonald are doubts for the season opener against Livingston on August 5.
Right-back Nicky Devlin has been required to fill in as a centre-back alongside youngster Jack Milne and squad player Jack MacKenzie, with Aberdeen looking to the transfer market.
“We know the situation with the centre backs,” the manager continued.
“We know there’s an issue but it’s getting addressed and hopefully we will have some news very soon.
“We will just have to wait and see if the injured players make the start of the season but hopefully we will have other players in soon to give them a hand.”
While the suggestion is that Williams is viewed as a key starter by Aberdeen, the uncertainty over his fitness has already led to reinforcements being sought.
Given no timeframe has been placed on his recovery, either, it is far from an ideal situation for the defender so soon after his move.
Williams is not the only Liverpool loanee to have faced an injury problem already this summer, with Owen Beck missing Dundee’s 1-0 defeat to Airdrieonians on Saturday with a knock.
Beck, who has already made his competitive debut in a 1-0 win over Bonnyrigg Rose in the Viaplay Cup, is expected to be back fit for the next group clash with Dumbarton on Wednesday.
However, he now faces a fight for his place after Dundee announced the signing of another left-back in Aaron Donnelly, on loan from Nottingham Forest.