Adam Hinshelwood is backing former Brighton youth product Cameron Tutt to come back stronger after breaking his metatarsal.
But the Worthing boss admitted his disappointment for the 17-year-old, who was recruited after shining on trial this summer.
Defender Tutt was forced off in the first half of the club’s thumping 6-0 win at BetVictor League South East side Whytleafe in their final pre-season friendly on Saturday.
It has now been confirmed the injury that brought a premature end for the former Brighton under-18 talent was a broken metatarsal.
After being given the injury news, Hinshelwood expects to be without the defender for up to three months.
Tutt will remain in a protective boot for six weeks before he can progress his recovery.
But Hinshelwood is hopeful the teenage talent can get over the initial disappointment and come back stronger later in the season.
“I’m more disappointed for Cam himself, really,” Hinshelwood said.
“He’s recently been released from a Premier League club in Brighton, then you’re looking for your next move.
“He’s come in and was starting to settle in well with the lads.
“His performances had been really good, especially at Three Bridges where he played really well.
“He was starting to find a bit of form.
“It’s come at a bad time for him, so we’re disappointed for him more than anything.
“But now he has an opportunity to work on other areas.
“Maybe getting himself stronger physically in the upper body, he’s got to use that to his advantage now.
“We’ve got a good medical team that will be giving him a programme so he doesn’t lose too much in terms of his fitness.
“He’s not going to be able to do the running, but there are other ways in which he can keep himself as fit as possible in the next six weeks.”
Worthing will also be without midfielder Ricky Aguiar (broken arm), Alfie Young (hernia) and Callum Kealy, who has gone back to Australia for family reasons, for the Isthmian League Premier Division season opener at Folkestone on Saturday and the first few weeks of the campaign.
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