ROOKIE striker Lewis Clarkson is “back to square one” in his bid to win a place in City’s plans for the season.

Clarkson was tipped to make the breakthrough after making a real impression when the team came back in the summer.

But a torn hamstring suffered in a friendly against Park Avenue has ruled him out for the past two months – and left him facing a lengthy battle to regain fitness.

Clarkson has begun running sessions again with head physio Matt Barrass but Phil Parkinson fears it is going to be a slow process.

He said: “Lewis is out running but it’s dragged on longer than we initially thought. It’s a worse injury than we hoped.

“It’s so frustrating for him and us because he was a real bright spark in pre-season. But unfortunately it’s going to be back to square one in terms of his fitness.

“He’s got a long road ahead of him now. He’s been out for ten weeks.”

Clarkson, signed on an 18-month deal from Scarborough Athletic in November, missed a large chunk of last term with injury.

He came roaring out the blocks in pre-season with four goals in the opening two friendlies, netting doubles against Guiseley and UCD, and Parkinson said the 20-year-old had given himself a chance of featuring in the squad.

But just 11 days before the opening kick-off, he was forced off early on in a game at Horsfall Stadium.

City soon found out the hamstring injury was far more significant than they first thought and Clarkson has only just been able to resume any physical activity on the training ground.

Parkinson added: “It’s disappointing because Lewis is a goalscorer. He’s not in training yet and that’s still a way off.

“But he’s shown in the summer that he’s prepared to put the work in.”