INSPIRATIONAL Wimborne skipper Scott Arnold is facing a race against time to be fit for the start of the new season after suffering another injury blow.

Defender Arnold damaged ankle ligaments in his first pre-season training session – having only just returned from a seven-month layoff.

The 32-year-old, who is in his testimonial campaign at Cuthbury, went under the knife in November to cure a persistent hip problem.

Arnold has made more than 500 appearances for the club but could be struggling to be in contention for their Southern League West opener against Bishops Cleeve on August 12.

Magpies boss Matt Holmes told the Daily Echo: “He turned his ankle in our first training session, which was a real shame. Hopefully, he’s about a week away from starting training again.

“But with regard to game time and being ready to start the season, it might be tough for him because he will have to build up his fitness. We hope to have him for the long term rather than rush him back.

“A player’s fitness base is built around pre-season and they need to get it in their system, especially at this level. They need to do the sessions and play the games because we don’t have much contact time with them.”

Arnold has been working under the watchful eye of new club physio Laurence Russell, a qualified sports therapist at Lilliput Health in Poole.

Russell has filled the void created by John Edwards’s retirement and spent a six-month placement at Plymouth Argyle where he shadowed head physio Paul Atkinson.

“We have a good link with Lilliput Health,” said Holmes. “John retiring was a big blow and trying to get good physios at this level is hard.

“Laurence has been looking after the boys and making sure they are doing the right rehab. He is full of enthusiasm and has really good knowledge.”