A serious facial injury has left Corry Evans a major doubt for Northern Ireland's Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Michael O'Neill's men will take on either Slovakia or the Republic of Ireland at Windsor Park on Tuesday, March 31, if they win the semi-final showdown in Zenica on Thursday, March 26.
But it now appears highly unlikely that Blackburn Rovers midfielder Evans will feature in the crucial game following confirmation of his horrific injuries sustained when he was caught by a high boot in the Championship draw against Preston.
The 29-year-old has suffered a fractured skull and shattered eye socket, leaving him facing a lengthy rehabilitation and spell on the sidelines.
Rovers boss Tony Mowbray said: "As a club we will support him through this next period. He'll be having his operation soon. I don't think it's right to put a time scale on it.
"He's going to have a plate in his forehead as his eye socket has been fractured and it's something we need to assess through time."
Both the club's medical team as well as the medical staff of the Northern Ireland side have been in contact with Evans over the course of the week.
Mowbray added: "I've said to him, 'There's no rush, no one is standing here saying we need you back in a couple of weeks'. First and foremost we need to think of Corry and his family."