SOUTHEND United manager Kevin Bond fears Tom Hopper and Jason Demetriou will both miss the start of the League One season.

Striker Hopper has been out of action since suffering a cruciate ligament injury against Walsall in October while right-back Demetriou underwent more knee surgery after picking up another problem during the 2-0 defeat to Wycombe Wanderers in April.

And Bond is not sure if the duo will be ready to kick off the new campaign.

“All of the injured players are progressing,” said the Blues boss.

“Hopper isn’t miles away. He might be a bit behind but he’s not miles away.

“Demetriou is the same but I’m not sure they will be ready for kick-off.

“I’m not sure they will be ready to start pre-season which, in turn, means they might not be ready for the start of the season.”

Hopper joined Blues last summer after being released by Scunthorpe United and enjoyed a fine start to the season, scoring seven goals in 14 games.

However, the 25-year-old was forced onto the sidelines and is still not yet ready to return, along with Demetriou.

The experienced defender underwent two operations on his knees last season and may also miss the start of the forthcoming campaign.

The Shrimpers are still also without Sam Barratt.

The 23-year-old winger, who signed from non-league Maidenhead United last summer, made just one appearance before suffering a cruciate ligament injury in an under-23 team clash at Stevenage.

Barratt is still working his way back to full fitness.

And Bond expects him to be slightly behind Demetriou and Hopper in his recovery.

“Sam Barratt is also making progress,” said Bond.

“But he’s going to be a bit longer.”

Defender Harry Kyprianou and young midfielder Lewis Gard remain Blues’ other long-term injuries.

Kyprianou ruptured his Achilles at AFC Wimbledon in November and is hoping to be fit enough to join in with pre-season training at some stage.

However, 19-year-old Gard is still facing a few more months on the sidelines with the serious cruciate ligament injury he suffered at Colchester United back in October.