SAMIR Carruthers is having an operation this afternoon in an attempt to solve his ongoing knee problem.

The 25-year-old has managed just 81 minutes of Sky Bet League One action on loan at Oxford United.

After missing two months following the initial injury in August, the midfielder has struggled since returning.

Carruthers was sent for a scan last week which showed up an area of concern and he is seeing a specialist today.

It will involve going under the knife, but the extent of the work required will only be known once the procedure is under way.

U's first-team coach Derek Fazackerley said: "Once they open it up and have a look they will decide what he needs to have to get him back to fitness.

"Depending on what’s needed, there are two scenarios.

"The good one is he’ll be back in six to seven weeks, the worst case it’s ten to 12 weeks.

"It’s really waiting to see when they operate this afternoon.

"Hopefully for Samir and us it’s the one that will get him back into the squad before Christmas."

In revealing the news on Saturday, boss Karl Robinson said: "When we were monitoring him he didn’t get back to that speed we knew he had.

“In the cameos he played, he didn’t look like the same player to us.

“We sent him for a scan when it wasn’t settling down.

“We’ve just got to make sure we get it right for him.

“It’s a freak one again and it’s disappointing not having him to make changes in the middle of the pitch.”

If the recovery time is 12 weeks it would rule him out until late January.

That raises the question over whether the season-long loan could be cut short.

Such deals often have break clauses, although it is usually a recall option for the parent club.

Robinson was unsure of the situation when asked last weekend, but said: “We want to keep him for the rest of the season because of his talent.

“But we have to make a judgement nearer the time.”