Leeds United could lose Neil Kilkenny for the early weeks of 2011 after the midfielder was named in Australia's provisional squad for the forthcoming Asian Cup.
Kilkenny is part of a 50-man pool selected by coach Holger Osieck, and Leeds will discover later this month whether the 24-year-old has made the final cut of 23 players.
* Click here to sign up to free Leeds United email alerts from your YEP.
The Asian Cup begins in Qatar on January 7, the day before United's FA Cup third round tie away to Arsenal, and Australia play their first group fixture against India on January 10.
* Click here to watch the latest edition of our Leeds United preview programme The Boot Room.
Their final group match against Bahrain is due to take place eight days later but the tournament runs until the end of January, potentially ruling Kilkenny out for a month.
* Click here to visit the Leeds United webchat page.
His absence would be an unwelcome blow to Leeds manager Simon Grayson, who has used Kilkenny in all but three of the club's matches this season.
Kilkenny found himself in a similar position in 2008 when he was named in Australia's squad for the Olympic Games in Beijing, a call-up which forced him to miss the start of United's League One campaign. Osieck's
final group is due to be announced on December 28.
United are attempting to negotiate a new contract with Kilkenny, whose existing deal runs out at the end of the term.
Discussions have been active for several months and as yet show no sign of a positive conclusion.