Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has revealed Matthieu Delpierre's spell on the sidelines is set to continue, with the veteran defender picking up a foot problem during his recovery from a hamstring strain.
Victory will welcome back a number of key players for the visit of Brisbane Roar FC on Friday, with Mark Milligan and Scott Galloway fit and available after missing international duty through injury last week.
Daniel Georgievski has trained fully following his time in the Macedonia set-up, while New Zealand's Kosta Barbarouses returned on Wednesday.
Connor Pain is due back from the Olyroos four-nation tournament in China late on Thursday, meaning the Round 7 clash at Etihad Stadium is likely to arrive too soon for Pain who drew the praise from his national U-23 coach Aurelio Vidmar for his performances.
The Big V have coped well in the absence of so many important personnel, drawing 0-0 away to Sydney FC last Saturday, their second clean sheet in three matches after a long wait to shut out the opposition.
But with Nick Ansell still not ready to return to the first team, it looks like another makeshift centre-back pairing will be required against the Roar, as the fitness of Delpierre becomes a concern.
"It's a little bit frustrating for him," Muscat said.
"It's no longer a soft tissue injury, he had a foot injury as well. The soft tissue was only a week or so. He's got a little issue with his foot and I dare say when it clears it up and he comes back he'll be better for it."
No time scale has been given on the French defender's likely return. When asked if Delpierre would return in 2014, Muscat said: "Without doubt, I hope so."
The game on Friday will be billed as a showdown between Victory's international marquee Besart Berisha and the club where he won two Hyundai A-League titles.
According to Muscat, the Albanian marksman is focusing all of his energy on ensuring it won't be a happy reunion for the Roar.
"He's been a little bit quiet over the last day or two," Muscat said.
"He'll want to get a good result for his current club tomorrow night.
"He's an intense character, that's very infectious. It's important if you are an infectious character that you lead by example.
"He trains very hard, he works very hard and he cares deeply about his team-mates. He's a winner. It's a massive positive."