Winger Brad Fewster could be back in the Hartlepool United first-team fold quicker than expected after initial fears of a four-week lay-off were played down by manager Craig Hignett.
When the Middlesbrough loanee was taken off early in the Checkatrade Trophy defeat to Sunderland last week it has been feared Fewster could be set for an extended spell on the sidelines.
A severe hamstring tear was diagnosed by medics and an initial recovery period of four weeks advised.
Speaking at the club’s weekly pre-match press conference last week manager Craig Hignett was visibly disappointed by the news and revealed that Fewster was very much knocking on the first-team door prior to the injury.
But this weekend, after further examination, and time to allow the injury to settle, it appears as if Fewster could be back in action sooner.
Manager Hignett revealed: “He is looking at about two weeks now which is positive news.
“We are hoping that with some rest he could be back about then.
“The tear wasn’t quite as bad as we thought it was last week. That’s good news for me as the manager.”
News is awaited on the extent of Nicky Deverdics injury, though.
The midfielder was taken off after half an hour of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with a thigh strain.
Hignett says it appears not to be too bad a problem for the player.
But he will have to wait and see whether he will train and be fit enough to play a part when Pools travel to Carlisle in five days time.
“Nicky has got a thigh strain and he couldn’t move in the end,” said Hignett.
“He felt his thigh and he was getting slower and slower.
“So in the end we had to change it.
“And to be fair Keiran Green deserved his chance.
“I felt sorry for him in taking him off, but it was purely tactics.
“We had to take Nicky off and I though Green actually did fine in the game.
“It wasn’t a case of him not doing well why the sub got subbed.
“He will learn from that.”
Having had him back briefly for the Checkatrade clash, Hignett admits his team really missed the influence of Nicky Featherstone in the heart of the midfield engine-room.
It was as the first-half wore on and Deverdics had to be removed that the control in midfield that Pools had previously enjoyed in the game began to wane.
That was not lost on Hignett, either.
“We missed a bit of control in the middle of the pitch,” he said.
“Nicky would have been there to shout at people as well as making sure he was pressing people. Keeping it right, Billy (Paynter) talks when he’s on.”
Some would say Hignett had one of the best seats in the house, having to watch the game from the Vic stands after being handed a three-game touchline ban.
But the manager himself was frustrated at having to watch on as Curtis Fleming dished out the orders to his starting XI.
“I wasn’t too far away and saw a few things different,” said Hignett.
“We had walkie talkies but it was doing my head in a bit. It worked but restricted me from getting my message down to the players.
“I felt lost a bit. There were times when I wanted to have a go at a few of them then there were times when I wanted to encourage them.
“It’s a joke really.”