Coleraine’s attempted assault on back-to-back North West titles has already suffered something of a setback ahead of the new season.
Newly appointed skipper Gordon Cooke has undergone surgery on a knee injury which could rule him out for some time.
The former Ireland pace bowler had only just taken over as club captain from his brother David a few weeks ago, but the champions are now left with an anxious wait to see if he will be fit for the new season.
A club spokesman admitted that Cooke’s injury had affected him towards the end of last season.
“Gordon injured himself during the Club Turf final at Waringstown but he was determined to see the season through,” they said.
“He has taken medical advice over the winter and by far the best option was for him to have surgery on the knee straight away.
“At this stage the specialist hasn’t been able to fully confirm the extent of the problem, but there may be ligament and or cartilege damage. If that were the case his recuperation would obviously take longer and it would be unlikely that he would be ready to take his place in the team at the start of the new campaign.
“Realistically he will require plenty of time to build things up again so we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
The Bannsiders have options in the seam department with Jarred Barnes and Gareth Burns spearheading the attack while Johnny Martin can also provide cover.
They are also known to be bringing in an overseas professional, believed to be a South African all-rounder however the club refused to confirm anything.
“We felt it was in everyone’s interests to ensure that Gordon had his injury tended to first and then we can start to plan ahead,” added the spokesperson.
“It is no secret that we’re currently in discussion with an overseas player, we had already been doing so before this, but as yet nothing has been finalised. We would be hopeful of confirming the details by the end of the month.”