DARLINGTON captain Ian Miller will not play again this season as he must undergo surgery on a hernia problem.

The defender has missed the last two games with the injury, having previously continued to declare himself available due to Quakers’ lack of replacements.

With Mark Bower now ready for selection after four months on the sidelines, Miller will become the third member of the squad to have an operation in the closing weeks of the campaign.

Striker Curtis Main (ankle) and midfielder Gareth Waite (knee) have both been under the knife, while manager Simon Davey has question marks over several players as he bids to guide his patchedup team through the remaining three matches.

Strikers Tadhg Purcell and Mor Diop both played the 90 minutes of Saturday’s home defeat to Grimsby Town after coming through fitness tests, but left-back Stuart Giddings limped off late on.

He suffered a thigh injury and is now a doubt for tomorrow evening’s home game with Notts County, as is Chris Moore. The former Whitley Bay winger missed out on Saturday due to a hip injury, but Josh Gray hopes to return tomorrow if he can recover from a knee complaint.

The lack of available senior players has resulted in Davey dipping into the club’s youth ranks and on Saturday he handed a debut to 17-year-old John McReady.

The centre-midfielder, like fellow youth-team graduates Gray and Main, is from South Shields, and became the 53rd different player used this season and the seventh to emerge through Quakers’ ranks.

Davey said: “He’s a young kid, still a YTS player, but he wasn’t overawed by the occasion.

He stepped in and did well and will have a bright future with us.”

McReady entered the fray as a half-time substitute, as did winger Mark Convery, who was one of the few to emerge from Saturday’s disappointing display with any credit.

“It says it all when a halftime substitute is man of the match,” said Davey. “It doesn’t say much for the other players.”

Meanwhile, Davey explained that he axed goalkeeper Shane Redmond on Saturday so that he could see Nick Liversedge in first-team action.

Redmond’s three-month loan from Nottingham Forest expires after tomorrow’s game, but Liversedge will keep his place.

Davey said: “Nick’s probably the only player I hadn’t had time to look at.

“His contract is up and I felt that playing him today and in the last three games of the season would give him an opportunity to show what he can do so that I can make a decision on his future.”