OWEN Coyle does not expect defender Tyrone Mears to return to action until early next year.

Having seen his new signing become the second Wanderers player to break his leg this summer, the manager revealed Mears is now looking at a minimum five months on the sidelines.

The former Burnley full-back will have a scan in September and while the injury would appear worse than first feared, Coyle is keeping his fingers crossed that the 28-year-old can still play a part for the club this season.

“He's in plaster but didn't need an operation to this point,” he said. “He goes back to hospital in a month's time and hopefully the X-ray will show the injury will heal naturally.

“If that's the case, then I think we're looking at something like five months. That would be the best scenario.”

Mears was injured last Thursday after an accident on the training pitch just five days after Chung-Yong Lee had suffered a horrific double leg fracture in a pre-season friendly at Newport.

The Whites boss confirmed the South Korea international will not feature this season and that he is trying hard to recruit a replacement before next weekend's season opener against QPR.

“I'm a confident person and we're doing everything in our powers to get someone in,” he said. “But I can't just bring someone in just for the sake of it.”