Wimborne Town boss Matty Holmes revealed Paddy Hester was likely to miss the start of the campaign.
The Magpies full-back has been suffering with a nagging knee injury, picked up during last season’s Southern League West play-off final against Swindon Supermarine.
He was replaced on 94 minutes by Ben Walker during the goalless draw in May – Supermarine went on to win 4-3 on penalties.
The Cuthbury club will join Swindon in Southern League South next season. Their promotion was rubber-stamped after Shaw Lane’s withdrawal from the Northern League Premier Division meant a restructure of divisions around the country.
Having lost Matt Oldring and Sam Bayston this summer, Holmes is set to be without Hester, who played 14 times and provided three assists since re-signing in January.
The Wimborne boss told the Daily Echo: “Paddy is possibly going to be a long-term injury. It’s another body we have lost.
“In the play-off final he damaged just underneath his kneecap. I think he has to go and have a scan on it. It’s unfortunate because Paddy is a big player for us.”
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