Goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima will not be available for Dundee United over the festive period.
However, manager Mixu Paatelainen is hopeful the 32-year-old will join the club early in the New Year.
United agreed to sign the Japan and former Standard Liege player as a free agent in November, but work permit issues have delayed the move.
"Eiji's not ready to play yet," said Paatelainen. "He's not here. He will come here in a week or so."
"We're hoping to bring in one or two during January," said the Finn.
"Whether we're successful with that or not, we'll see.
"There will be one or two leaving also I expect, but it's not 100%. We'll see how things develop on that."
Asked if there had been interest in any of his players, Paatelainen replied: "Not directly but through agents obviously.
"The agents are doing their work and things are developing."
United, who are seven points adrift at the bottom of the Scottish Premiership after drawing with Inverness Caledonian Thistle at the weekend, next face Motherwell.
"It's a massive one, as are all of them," said Paatelainen of the Boxing Day game.
"Where we are in the league table, every match is vitally, vitally important for us and this one is no different.
"We're getting closer. We need to do better. Everybody realises what they must do on the pitch. Every player is looked at, their actions and performances."
Motherwell are fresh from having beaten leaders Celtic in Glasgow.
"They've got a dangerous team, they've got a very good team," said Paatelainen.
"If they can beat Celtic, they can beat us. It's up to us to make sure that it won't happen.
"Their confidence will be sky high after beating Celtic. We need to be at our best to take anything from the game.
"We all know that our game has improved. We all know that we are performing better. We all know that we're not getting the desired results.
"We want victories. We need to keep working hard. Until we get victories, we're not satisfied."
Second-bottom Kilmarnock are on a seven-match winless run and the Tangerines boss is confident of catching the Ayrshire side and those further up the table.
"They're the next club up the league table, so absolutely," he explained.
"It won't happen straight away because there's a little gap, but we know we can close that gap and overtake one or two clubs."