Hartlepool United's friendly at Spennymoor Town is set to come around too soon for midfielder Paddy McLaughlin.
The former Gateshead man missed last night's friendly win at Shildon with a virus and will again sit out the weekend clash.
But the Northern Irishman is set to return to first-team training next week and is likely to get minutes under his belt against Middlesbrough under-23s, when they travel to Victoria Park a week on Saturday.
McLaughlin played Pools' first pre-season game at Billingham Town but was withdrawn in some discomfort.
Since then he has been laid low with a virus, but medical staff are hopeful he will be fully recovered in time to return to work on Monday, which is less than a fortnight ahead of Pools' big National League kick-off on August 4.
Meanwhile, Matthew Bates has moved to put Poolies at rest with the news that Andrew Davies' withdrawal on 32 minutes of the 4-0 frinedly win at Dean Street against Northern League Shildon was pre-planned.
"He is getting old now, so didn't want to sit on the bench for an hour," joked Bates.
"We took him off early, rather than leave him waiting around to come on.
"It was part of the plan. He is OK. It's just his age and the fact we have to manage him through the summer and the season."