Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton says Danny Andrew picked up a dead leg at Port Vale and hopes the full-back will be fit enough to feature at Carlisle United on Saturday.
Andrew came off at half-time in Town's 1-0 defeat at Vale Park tonight.
He was replaced by Eddie Clarke at the break with Vale's David Amoo scoring the only goal of the game in spectacular fashion in the 55th minute.
Barton says it was a precaution to remove Andrew to ensure the left-back will be fit for the opening day of the season at Peterborough on August 3.
He is in contention to feature at League Two side Carlisle on Saturday with skipper Craig Morgan, Ash Hunter, Kyle Dempsey, Jack Sowerby and Billy Crellin all doubts after missing the Vale defeat due to injuries.
Barton spoke exclusively to the Fleetwood media team after the game.
When asked about Andrew he said:
"It is just a dead leg.
"It is that stage in the season when you err on the side of caution.
"If it was a league game he would have battled on through it but there is no need to do that in fixtures that are not competitive.
"We just look after him.
"Hopefully he can get himself moving and be available to get more minutes at Carlisle."
Barton was disappointed to see his side lose 1-0 back-to-back after they failed to bounce back from a defeat to Championship side Millwall.
He said: "You don't want to lose 1-0 back-to-back but it is part of the journey,
"You have got to get minutes into their legs, protect them and that means the younger ones coming into the game late and getting minutes.
"Danny Andrew picked up a dead leg so Eddie Clarke comes on at half-time which is good experience for the boys.
"The key for us we want to be competitive and win every football game but it is important that we are primed and that our XI for Peterborough is primed to go and pick up three points."
And Barton wants more fluidity in the final third.
He said: "It was a good work out.
"A nice big pitch, we still lacked that bit of fluidity in the final third which is a little bit frustrating because we dominated possession for big spells.
Conor McAleny hit the post and Paddy probably should have put his chance away but they were well organised.
"They pressed us quite well, a really good workout and they scored a wonder goal too so it is just what we needed, a good physical game that will bring the lads on."