Crusaders have been dealt a blow with news that midfielder Declan Caddell could be sidelined for two months.
Caddell broke a metatarsal in his left foot during Saturday’s NI Hospice Charity Shield defeat to Glentoran at Solitude.
The 27-year-old had an X-ray on the injured foot which revealed the break.
Caddell is due to meet a specialist on Thursday to determine the next stage of his treatment.
“They may need to pin it which means I could be out for a while. It could be two months or so,” the midfielder said.
“It is hugely disappointing ahead of the new season but I will just work hard in my recovery and try and return as soon as possible. I can still work away in the gym to make sure I stay as fit as possible.
“Hopefully I won’t be out for too long. We will just have to see what the specialist says and what kind of surgery is required.
“I broke my left foot two years ago but this is a different injury. It’s just so disappointing with the Premiership season starting next Saturday.
“But that’s football and you just have to deal with the injuries you get.”
Crusaders manager Stephen Baxter added: “Injuries are inevitable in football. Sadly Declan appears to have broken a metatarsal in his foot. We will have to wait and see what the specialist says now.
“I don’t know how long he will be out for, but I would imagine a few weeks anyway.
“Fortunately we have Barry Molloy on his way back from injury. Barry should hopefully play a reserve team game in a couple of weeks. Chris Morrow is also training with Barry but it will be a few more weeks before we see him back.
“Injuries are not ideal one week before the start of the Premiership season, but you just have to deal with them.”