Manchester United winger Nani is still a month away from a return to action after suffering a hamstring injury.
The Portugal international has not been named in a matchday squad since the League Cup win over Stoke City on December 18, having sustained the problem in training.
And manager David Moyes confirmed on Friday that the 27-year-old, who was linked with moves to Tottenham and Milan before Friday’s transfer deadline, would be out at least until March.
“Nani has had a bad hamstring injury. He’s getting closer now but I think it will be another month until he will be about ready to play,” Moyes told Manchester United’s official site.
However, midfielder Michael Carrick is in contention for Saturday’s trip to stoke, and defender Rio Ferdinand is back training.
“Carrick is improving with his ankle and has got a good chance of being in the squad (on Saturday),” Moyes added. “He’s improving and has done some training. We’ll just check to see if he can twist and turn correctly before we make a decision.
“Rio is back in training and in the squad as well. I’ll continue to use Rio at the right times when we think we can play him.
“He has made a great contribution, especially in the first half of the season. He played a big part in helping me settle and get my feet under the table a little bit.
“He’s got competition for places at centre-half but he is very much valued and looked at as one of the senior players here.”