Everton's season has gone from bad to worse after it was revealed that key midfielder Mikel Arteta has suffered a setback in his recovery from a long-term injury.
The Spanish star, who has been sidelined since February when he suffered a cruciate knee ligament injury, has had to undergo a procedure to remove an infection from the same knee.
The 27-year-old sustained the injury in the opening minutes of the goalless draw at Newcastle United, who are one of the online favourites to win promotion from the Championship this term, and had to leave the pitch on a stretcher.
He endured surgery on his right knee in his homeland in February and was originally expected to be out of action for six months.
Meanwhile, Liverpool defender Philipp Degen has failed to persuade the Football Association to overturn the red card he was handed in the 3-1 defeat at Fulham on Saturday.
The 26-year-old Switzerland international was dismissed in the closing stages of the Craven Cottage encounter for his late challenge on Clint Dempsey.
Degen will now have to serve a three-match domestic ban. Jamie Carragher was also sent off against Fulham but the FA is still to make a decision on his appeal.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson criticised the referee following his team's dramatic 3-3 draw with CSKA Moscow on Tuesday, a result that booked his team's place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Ferguson was left fuming at the official's decision to book Darren Fletcher for diving when it appeared as though the Scotland international should have been awarded a penalty.
In cricket, Somerset's South African-born wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter has been included in England's performance programme even though the 21-year-old will not qualify for his adopted country until February.
Kieswetter has been named as a 'category B' squad member, designed for players with first-class experience who could graduate to the senior side with one to three years' development.
He looks set to follow in the footsteps of fellow South Africa-born players Kevin Pietersen, Jonathan Trott and Andrew Strauss, who are all in the current England Test squad.
England boss Martin Johnson has confirmed that Jonny Wilkinson will win his first England cap for 18 months when he takes to the field against Australia on Saturday.
Hooker Steve Thompson, who has not played a Test for England since 2006, also earns a recall as does Lewis Moody.
Tight-head prop David Wilson, inside centre Shane Geraghty and number eight Jordan Crane all start, while Danny Care has been handed the opportunity to impress at scrum-half.
Johnson has been forced to name an inexperienced side after 11 of his original 32-man squad succumbed to injury.