HARTLEPOOL United forward Luke James has undergone a double hernia operation and will be sidelined for six weeks.
The 17-year-old first detected the problem during a reserve-team game at Bury earlier this months and has been out of action since.
Physio Ian Gallagher explained: “Luke spoke to the specialist who put him on a two-week strengthening programme in the hope we could do without the operation.
“But when things didn’t clear up, surgery became the only option unfortunately so we got him in to hospital as soon as we could.
“He won’t be able to do a great deal of exercise for the next couple of weeks but overall it’s usually a six-week rehabilitation programme so we hope to see him back by mid-December.”
Meanwhile, youth team striker Ben Wignall will undergo surgery next week after he picked up a knee injury in the FA Youth Cup win over Fleetwood Town last Wednesday.