Ethan Walker is facing surgery on his injured shoulder which will rule the Carlisle United loanee out for about three months.

The teenage Preston attacker will have an operation this weekend after suffering the injury in last week's EFL Trophy game at Sunderland.

Blues physio Ross Goodwin today confirmed the 18-year-old was now unlikely to return until the new year.

It is a further blow to the Blues who have been hit by a number of attacking injuries so far this season.

Goodwin said: "He’s gone back to Preston and he’s going for surgery this weekend.

"He’s out for the foreseeable. You’re looking probably at three months.

"He’s got instability in his shoulder, and needs to stabilise it or it will end up as a long-term problem.

"He’s had [a similar issue] previously at Preston. He dislocated it a year ago and dislocated again last Tuesday.

"It popped back in, but he's a young boy so if it doesn’t get fixed now he’s going to have problems forever, basically."

Walker has made five appearances for the Cumbrians since joining on a season-long loan.

The 18-year-old had been brought in to provide attacking competition at United in the absence of summer signing Brennan Dickenson, who is expected to be out until late December with a hamstring tear.

Boss Chris Beech may now consider a return to the transfer market ahead of Friday's 5pm deadline, having said any future deals would depend on United's injury situation.

Dickenson and Omari Patrick are both on the sidelines although Goodwin suggested Patrick may not be out for long with his own hamstring issue.

"We’re hoping he’s not too far away," he said.

"The word of the specialist was positive, so we’re hoping in the next couple of weeks, he’ll go back to see the specialist then get the OK to get back involved."

Goodwin said Dickenson was continuing to make progress on his way back, suggesting he was almost midway through the process that will see him return to action in the winter.

"Brennan is coming on alright," he said. "He’s six weeks now, probably coming up for halfway. He’s looking at the end of December.

"Everything’s progressing well."

Gime Toure, the physio added, was carrying no long-term issues from the dead leg problems he has had in recent weeks. The French attacker returned against Port Vale last Saturday after missing the Sunderland game as a precaution.

United are also hoping to welcome Josh Dixon back into the full fold soon with the young Cumbrian midfielder on his way back from a second cruciate knee ligament injury.

"He had the whole pre-season, was feeling good, then had his strength test which was down a little bit on where it should have been," Goodwin said.

"He spent the next few weeks building up, then he got a little niggle about a month ago.

"He’s back running, doing some ball work today, so hopefully he’s not far away.

"He needs games - that’s probably his biggest downfall just now, the amount of game time he’s had in the last two years."