Neil Austin has been ruled out for the rest of the season after being told he needs an operation to repair his injured toe.
The full-back has been struggling with the problem for six weeks, which was caused by blocking a shot in the Club’s 0-0 draw with Scunthorpe United at the start of February.
Medical staff have been working hard to try and prevent the need for surgery, including recently having Austin fitted with orthotics in an attempt to give better support to the affected area.
However, once all efforts had been made the defender had to seek further evaluation from a specialist who confirmed that the only route left was an operation.
“I said at the time that I would never belittle an injury and after this period of time when it hasn’t settled down the specialist has said he needs to have the surgery,” boss Colin Cooper explained to Pools Player.
“Buster, our Physio, works very hard and I think he knew early doors something wasn’t quite right but it’s taken this long to let everything in and around the joint settle down so the extent of the problem can be seen on a scan.
“We’ve gone down every avenue to try and help Neil but now the specialist has told us that the only alternative is to have the operation.
“It’s a blow for us but Neil is a top professional and knows the score so I’m sure he just wants to get back to fitness as soon as possible.”
Click here to watch a full video interview with Colin Cooper on the injury to Neil Austin right now only on Pools Player.