Craig Harrison admits Hartlepool United could face a dilemma over injured skipper Carl Magnay.
The Pools leader may need surgery on a hernia – a problem which forced him to come off in the 69th minute of last night’s 1-1 draw with Tranmere Rovers.
Harrison says Pools have booked in an op date for the 28-year-old but plan to assess all options first before putting him under the knife.
“Carl has a hernia, but we need to see how we are going to manage that,” said Harrison. “He’s pencilled in for surgery, but we need to look it.
“Last season, Nicky Featherstone played something like four months with a hernia.
“But that would be pain-dependent – we need to go by what Mags says.
“We’ll have to manage the situation carefully, whether the pain is just too much.
“It may be the case that we need the op doing ASAP to get it done and get him back.
“It’s an individual thing – we need to check on its severity. We need to see if it’s something we can manage.”
Magnay’s potential absence would lengthen an injury list which includes Jake Cassidy (foot), Ryan Donaldsdon (ankle), Connor Newton (ankle) and Keith Watson (knee).
Recent signings Tomi Adeloye and James Thorne are currently out with unspecified injuries, which prevents them from turning out in tonight’s Durham Challenge Cup tie with Hebburn at the Vic (kick-off 7.30pm).
Harrison says he will look at giving a number of his players run-outs against the Ebac Northern League side, players like Blair Adams, Luke George, Scott Harrison, Jack Munns, Kenton Richardson and Connor Simpson.
But he says that decision won’t be made until this afternoon when he’s assessed the fitness of his National League squad ahead of Saturday’s long trip to Torquay.
“We’re hoping to play a strong team tonight,” Harrison told SportMail.
“But we’ve got some niggles from last night so we’ll check around noon, 1pm today to see what’s what and we’ll go from there and see who’ll play tonight.”