Dillon Morse is to miss the start of South Shields’ pre-season fixture programme after undergoing groin surgery.

The operation took place in June, with the defender making good progress in his recovery under the guidance of head of physiotherapy and medical Andrew Morris.

He is expected to return to full training in late-July and was this week discharged by his consultant after a final check-up.

JJ Hooper will also miss Saturday’s opening friendly at Berwick Rangers after sustaining a minor hamstring injury in training.

The striker is due to be available to train within the next 10 days.

Meanwhile, a decision is yet to be made over whether Callum Ross will make his long-awaited comeback from a knee injury on Saturday.

Ross underwent surgery earlier this year and has not played in a match since January.

The midfielder returned for pre-season in tremendous shape and topped many of the early fitness tests.

Manager Kevin Phillips said: “Callum came back unbelievably fit, but we’ve got to be very careful and manage him properly as he returns to match action.

“It will be a joint decision between Callum, Andy and myself as to whether he is available to play on Saturday.

“There are no heroes in the first two weeks of pre-season. It’s all about being fit for the start of the league campaign.

“If Callum does miss out on Saturday it will be as a precautionary measure, as we have to choose the most sensible option.”

South Shields’ players returned for the start of pre-season training in two groups on Thursday as fitness testing was carried out.

Their preparations will be stepped up over the next week in readiness for the opening pre-season friendly, away to Berwick Rangers on Saturday, July 9th.

Among the players back in training was midfielder Callum Ross, who missed the second half of the 2021-22 campaign with a knee injury.

Ross came out on top in the dreaded yo-yo test as the players were put through their paces, and afterwards he spoke to us about his excitement ahead of the new season. You can watch his interview below.

Callum Ross is set to be sidelined for the rest of the season after undergoing successful knee surgery.

The midfielder went under the knife on Wednesday to repair a torn meniscus which has kept him out of action since early January.

He will now begin a period of rehabilitation and is expected to return in time to play a full part in pre-season.