REECE Staunton is being encouraged to believe in himself again to banish any injury demons.

The young City talent is working his way back from the serious hamstring problem that wrecked last season.

Staunton has featured in the first two pre-season friendlies and is likely to be involved again at Guiseley tomorrow night.

It ends an horrific eight months for the 19-year-old since going off injured against Leyton Orient in November.

Niall Canavan was one of the City older heads who has helped nurse Staunton through that testing time and is backing him to come back stronger – if the teenager puts his mind to it.

Canavan said: “From what I’ve seen in training, he’s got a lot of tools there to play the game. I think it’s more the mental aspect.

“It’s once he finally believes in himself that he’s past his injury trouble.

“He’s possibly been holding back and may be worried about getting another injury. I hope he’s not because he should be bullet proof at this point.

“If he just backs himself but stays grounded as well, there’s no reason why he can’t work his way into the team and then it’s up to him where he wants to go.”

Staunton, who signed a long-term contract until 2024 at the start of last season, suffered a high-grade tear at Orient on his comeback from a hamstring injury.

He was then hit by a setback in training when close to returning – which prevented him from kicking a ball in anger during the rein of dual bosses Mark Trueman and Conor Sellars.

“Reece obviously had the injury so I spent a bit of time with him and got to know him as a character,” added Canavan.

“It can be tough. But he’s got good pros around who try to talk to him.

“I’m not sure it’s the footballing side that’s as much of a worry.

“He clearly needs to learn the game as any young lad does but it’s about experience.

“Particularly as a defender, I don’t think he needs to be in any huge rush to be a star attraction.

“I spoke to him a few times, whether he thinks I’m boring him or not I don’t know!

“But I just told him it’s about progressing season on season. If you improve your levels across all areas with the talent you’ve got, you should end up where you want to be.

“The speed at which he develops is up to him and how he processes all the experiences that he has. Whether you want to learn from them or not goes down to attitude and personal outlook.

“He might have chosen to sometimes think, ‘oh, why me?’ with the injury and being out for a long time.

“Or you look at it and go, ‘I’ve learned three or four things about myself’ and you take them forward to push on to the next barrier that you hit.”

Canavan insists the experience of team-mates who have come back from lengthy lay-offs should give Staunton more confidence to build on the promising start to his career before the injury.

He said: “There are loads of lads who have had problems at different times of their careers.

“They won’t all be the exact same problem. But everyone’s been out of football for a stretch of time and lads come back from it and they kick on.

“He might be thankful that it’s happened so early and hopefully, fingers crossed, he never suffers another one like that. He’s got it out the system.

“Everyone has had good senior pros around them to help through the early part of their career. It’s just something all the lads want to pass on.

“It’s all part and parcel of it. You take bits of information that you want and see where it takes you on your path.”