Injury has once again dealt a cruel blow to Chris Killen and the All Whites' World Cup qualifying plans, with the Celtic striker an 11th hour withdrawal from crucial home and away qualifiers against New Caledonia.
Following advice from the Glasgow club's medical staff, Killen - who missed New Zealand's World Cup qualifiers against Vanuatu last November with an Achilles strain - will require surgery to remove floating bone fragments from the striker's knee.
All Whites assistant coach Brian Turner says Killen is obviously disappointed to be missing such a crucial game, but Celtic's medical staff advised it was essential to have the operation.
Turner says Killen is confident he will be available for the play-off with an Asian side for the final place at the World Cup.
If the All Whites beat New Caledonia in Noumea on September 6th or at North Harbour Stadium four days later, they will earn a playoff against Asia's fifth placed team for a spot at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Killen recently played in the Olympics.
A replacement for Killen in the 18-man squad is yet to be named.