Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill will have to plan without the services of Shane Duffy for this month's clash with Wales at the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland will have the chances to cement their place at the top of Group D later this month against Chris Coleman's side but will be without the Brighton defender.
Duffy limped off during the Seagulls 3-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest on Saturday with an ankle injury and it was confirmed this morning that the Derry native will be out for at least six weeks.
As well as the Wales game, Duffy will be a huge loss to Brighton boss Chris Hughton as his side battle it out for automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Hughton said: “He's fractured his fifth metatarsal and will have an operation probably tomorrow.
"We're probably looking at a minimum of six weeks. He's a big loss."
Duffy has been an integral part of the Brighton defence since joining on a four-year deal last summer.
With Robbie Brady already absent for the Wales game due to suspension, Duffy’s injury is a blow for Martin O’Neill, who will name his squad for the Wales tie next Monday. Duffy missed the first game of the World Cup campaign as he was suspended but he has started the last three qualifiers.