Hartlepool have been dealt a major blow with news that defender Ben Clark requires a hernia operation, which will keep him out for around six weeks.

Clark picked up the injury during pre-season training and after meeting with a specialist, it was decided that the 26-year-old will go under the knife on Friday.

Clark's absence leaves Pools with only two recognised centre-halves, Sam Collins and Peter Hartley, increasing the likelihood that Chris Turner will have to strengthen that area before the new campaign.

Turner told the club's official website: "It's a disastrous situation for us only having two recognised centre-backs and I'm certainly trying to bring someone else in.

"It's a big blow for us to lose Ben so early in pre-season and although he could possibly have played on the best thing is get the injury sorted out sooner rather than later."

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