TOM Eaves will miss the start of pre-season after aggravating an existing toe injury whilst on a break in Brazil.

The young striker faces a six-week lay-off in total, which will include the first few weeks of training when the players return for duty to Euxton at the end of the month.

It has also emerged that the injury was not detected by the club’s medical staff when the players left for the summer break but flared up whilst on a walking holiday in South America.

The 21-year-old had scans on his return from holiday that confirmed a small fracture in his toe that now requires complete rest to avoid making it worse.

It also means the Liverpudlian front man is likely to miss out on the intensive fitness camp in Spain and could be well behind the other players in terms of fitness by the time he returns to action.

Eaves impressed in his first three senior appearances for the Whites back in April and May after returning from a successful loan spell with Shrewsbury Town.

He was pencilled in to play a bigger part in Dougie Freedman’s plans this summer, but the setback – which mirrors a similar pre-season injury he picked up under Owen Coyle’s reign – puts him at a significant disadvantage with the team due to play their first friendly against Rotherham United on July 16.

Wanderers are investing heavily in a complete overhaul of the fitness, rehabilitation and sports science department this summer in an effort to detect and avoid such problems in the future.

Highly-rated full-back Joe Riley suffered a similarly frustrating situation back in February when he broke down 36 minutes into an FA Cup tie against Sunderland.

It is thought a small crack in his foot crept under the radar but eventually led to a serious problem that effectively ruled him out for the rest of the season.

Riley only managed two appearances in total last term and has yet to get a prolonged opportunity under Dougie Freedman.