Stoke City will be without defender Ryan Shawcross for two months due to a troublesome back injury.
The club skipper had a scan on his back this week and the club have now confirmed that the centre-back is to undergo surgery and will miss “at least the first two months” of the season.
The club said in a statement: “The central defender has suffered a recurrence of a back problem that troubled him last season. The Club had hoped surgery would not be necessary and that the summer break would provide a solution.
“That initially appeared to be the case but the harder Shawcross pushed himself in pre-season the more discomfort he found himself in, leaving no alternative but for him to undergo the operation.”
Shawcross was sidelined for three weeks in in January with a condition described as an “inflamed disc in his back” by manager, Mark Hughes.
Goalkeeper Jack Butland added: “To lose him is a big loss, but we do have other players who are more than capable of filling the void while he is not there.”