MARCUS Barnes is facing a summer of hard work after limping off against Mansfield.

The Latics forward started his first game since signing from Southampton in January, having made his comeback from a month-long injury lay-off almost two weeks ago.

Barnes was a second half substitute in the win over Harrogate and came off the bench against Grimsby last weekend.

Head coach Keith Curle opted to start him in the final away game at Mansfield on Saturday to get more minutes under his belt, but he lasted only an hour before breaking down.

It was unclear how Barnes sustained the injury, but when a Latics attack broke down and Mansfield countered, Barnes went to ground midway inside the opposition half to await treatment, and was immediately replaced by Alfie McCalmont.

“It’s disappointing that Marcus comes off with a potential, slight twinge,” said Curle.

"I'm disappointed because he's unable to stay on the football pitch for 90 minutes.

"He hasn't done it since he's been here and that's a worry, and a worry for him.

"He needs to make himself more robust."

All players are sent away at the end of the season with a fitness programme to keep them in good shape so that they can hit the ground running at the start of pre-season. And Barnes will be no exception.

The 24-year-old has only completed one senior game, and not since April 2018.

Curle added: "Marcus has got something, but you can't keep him fit.

"There's a lot of hard work for Marcus over the summer months to get himself fit to make himself a viable prospect for any football club."