Bailey Wright has suffered a setback in his recovery from a groin injury after this week undergoing a minor operation on the persistent problem.
The 22-year-old defender will be unavailable for Australia’s November 18 friendly with Japan, with Preston boss Simon Grayson stating it will “keep him out a few weeks rather than months”.
Wright isn't the only Australian defender likely to miss the key Asian Cup warm-up game, with Curtis Good (hip) unavailable and Matt Spiranovic (ankle) working his way back to fitness.
Trent Sainsbury, Brad Smith, Chris Herd and Jason Davidson are all also struggling for game-time at their European clubs.
Melbourne-born Wright has been sidelined for the past three weeks with the niggling groin injury, which the club decided to treat this week.
"Bailey went up for an operation on Tuesday just gone," Grayson revealed to reporters.
"We've got to a situation with him where we've decided that he needed to do something after speaking to specialists and consultants.
“We took the decision that we would get the operation done and lose him for a few weeks.
"I'm not going to put a time-scale on it but it was something we felt we could get done and then at least we know where we are."
Grayson also revealed Wright, who scored on his Australia debut against Saudi Arabia in September, originally sustained the injury on international duty.
Wright had been playing with the injury “at 80 per cent” according to Grayson, before succumbing to the complaint having played 11 games in the 2014-15 campaign for the Lilywhites.
"It's the injury he picked up while being away in Australia and he battled on with it,” Grayson said.
“We just felt that we needed to get it sorted for the long term, rather than the short term.
"He probably at times wasn't doing himself justice with his performances so we felt we had to get it sorted.”
Grayson added: "As much as it's disappointing to lose him, it was felt it was needed for our benefit and for Bailey's benefit as well.
“You could keep turning him over and playing him at 80 per cent and somewhere down the line it's probably going to cause him more problems than it is at this stage.”comments