Blackpool could have to wait another month for Jose Miguel Cubero to regain fitness after surgery.
The Costa Rican midfielder has managed only two appearances for the Seasiders since his £300,000 summer move and has been struggling with a foot problem for almost two months.
Manager Lee Clark revealed last week the World Cup star had returned to his homeland for treatment in the hope of avoiding an operation.
But now reports from Central America suggest the 27-year-old has undergone a small procedure to remove a metal pin placed in his foot two years ago.
The midfielder is due to return to Blackpool this weekend and hopes he will be able to resume full training soon.
“I think things went to plan with the operation,” he said. “It was a simple one to remove the screw.
“The problem is that I have too much of an arch in my foot and this causes me discomfort due to bad positioning.
“At the moment we are hoping this operation will avoid further problems.
“The screw is from when I broke the fifth metatarsal.”
Cubero’s Pool career has so far been stop-start to say the least, work permit issues having prevented him playing in the opening eight games.
He finally made his debut against Norwich in September before being injured against Middlesbrough four days later.
He added: “I have to get this right as we are talking about my career.
“The most important thing for me is to play for Blackpool.”
Reports suggest the operation could keep the midfielder out for around a further three weeks.
Pool have been dealt another injury blow with confirmation that Tom Barkhuizen has broken an arm.
The winger landed heavily in Tuesday’s behind-closed-doors match at Sunderland and tests on the Fylde coast yesterday revealed a fracture.
The Blackpool-born 21-year-old is yet to play for the Seasiders this season, having recently returned from a five-match loan spell at Morecambe.
Despite such setbacks and seeing his side widely written off, Clark is convinced Pool can avoid relegation.
On Saturday they visit fellow strugglers Rotherham, who haven’t won in six games, and Clark said: “Everyone outside of the football club thinks we are down and they have a right to.
“But we will gather momentum and once we do we’ll give ourselves a real chance.
“What’s pleasing me is the difference in performance from when we first arrived. There’s a real desire to improve and we are getting there.”