DARLINGTON defender Chris Hunter will continue to be available for selection despite a planned knee operation being delayed.

He has barely featured in pre-season and was due to go under the knife last week to repair a small tear in the cartilage in his right knee.

However, a mix-up at the hospital due to perform the surgery means he now faces a wait of up to three months to have the issue dealt with, though manager Martin Gray is not too concerned.

“He’s going to play through it until the operation comes around,” he said. “He’s fine, it’s only a simply cartilage issue, so it’s a painkiller job, roll your sleeves up and get on with it.

“It won’t affect his performance, subject to sustaining further damage in which case we would take him out of the team.

“At the end of last season we had a massive backlog of games, he played through that okay when we had two or three games a week and this season we’ve got fewer games to play.

“So he should have more time to recover and prepare for games and he will be available for selection after first two games of the season when he is suspended.”

Following the arrival of summer signing Liam Marrs, the former Boston United right-back, Gray may feel he is in a position to not risk Hunter sustaining further damage.

His appearance as a substitute at Gateshead last Friday represents Hunter’s only action of pre-season so far.

Quakers’ campaign starts on August 6 at Altrincham, and they play their final friendly on Saturday against a Football League club behind closed doors.

*The story of Darlington's 1995-96 season - Saturday's Northern Echo.