Richard Cresswell will play no further part in Leeds’ bid for promotion from the Coca-Cola Championship this season after undergoing knee surgery.
Manager Kevin Blackwell will now look to draft in a replacement on loan in time for this weekend’s visit of Luton.
Cresswell, 28, was expected to be ruled out for six weeks after finally having surgery to repair damaged cartilage, but Blackwell’s worst fears have now been realised.
The former Preston forward has hit seven goals for Leeds, despite being sidelined for three months after rupturing knee ligaments against Derby in September.
Blackwell was criticised in some quarters when he paid £1.15million to Preston for Cresswell in August with Rob Hulse, David Healy, Robbie Blake and Ian Moore already in his squad.
But Healy, Hulse and latterly Cresswell have struggled for full fitness at various stages of the season and Blackwell will be keen to add to his strikers.