Andrew Nelson is likely to miss the rest of the season after he picked up a knee injury on Saturday.
The 19-year-old, who joined Hartlepool United on the final day of the January Transfer window, suffered the injury minutes after coming on as a substitute against Plymouth Argyle at Victoria Park.
An MRI scan later revealed the extent of Nelson’s injury, confirming he had damaged the medial ligaments in his knee.
It is expected now that the youngster will almost certainly miss the rest of the season.
Speaking to Hartlepool’s official website, Pools’ head physio Ian Gallagher said: “The scan confirmed our worst fears.
“Andrew has now returned to Sunderland for treatment but the nature of the injury means it’s doubtful that he will be able to play again this season.”