Hartlepool United hope to have cracked Luke George’s injury woe with a simple cure.
The midfielder has missed all but two games of the pre-season programme with calf trouble.
It’s all been a bit of a pain in the backsideCRAIG HARRISON
George played 45 minutes at Billingham Town and then the final half-hour at Dunston UTS, but has been ruled out ever since.
But after tracing his problems to persistent back trouble last season, Pools think the issue is with his feet and have ordered special insoles for his footwear.
Boss Craig Harrison told SportMail: “It’s all been a bit of a pain in the backside.
“He’s played a lot of last season with back pain, but it’s been identified to a problem with the arches of his feet.
“He’s had some orthotics fitted to his boots and trainers and hopefully that will relieve the pressure on his back, calves and hamstrings.
“We’re hoping that is going to be an easy solution.”
It means George, signed from Chester last month, will sit out the start of the National League programme.
Striker Devante Rodney (hip), who finished the last term with a bang, will be absent from the start of this campaign, having not featured in pre-season.
Fellow forward Rhys Oates could be fit to face Dover on August 5, following a groin injury against Sunderland last Tuesday and Liam Donnelly, who came off against the Black Cats with a dead leg will be available again for this Friday’s friendly with Middlesbrough at Victoria Park.
“Rhys will be out for up to two weeks,” said Harrison.
“He has a low-grade muscle strain, but Liam will be training today.
“He had an impact injury, a dead leg, it was just a case of letting the bruising come out.
“He trained on Friday, just doing a bit of running, he’d have been fit to play tomorrow if we had a midweek game.”
Jake Cassidy proved his fitness after hamstring trouble by playing the first half of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at St Johnstone.
“It was really good for Jake,” added Harrison. “He’s had no reaction.
“It was only going to be for the first half because it would have been hard to manage a hamstring problem with him cooling down in the 15 minutes at half-time.
“If we had brought him out for the second half we might have been pushing our luck a bit.
“But to get 45 minutes into him was key.”
Conor Newton is working his way towards full match fitness after playing 70 minutes at McDiarmid Park.
Fellow midfielder Nicky Featherstone could be in contention to start the season after getting in almost half an hour in a sub appearance against the SPL side.