COLIN Cooper will give Andy Monkhouse until the end of the week to see if he is fit to aid Hartlepool United’s fight for League Two safety.
The talented attacker has missed the last five matches – all defeats – after suffering a hamstring injury esarly in the 4-0 romp over Bristol Rovers.
Monkhouse did train last week, but did not take part in any full-on sessions.
He decided on Friday that he was not quite right for the match against Chesterfield at Victoria Park.
Monkhouse has still not completed a full training session this week either and Cooper will give the 33-year-old until Friday.
As always, the Pools boss says he will leave the final decision to the player and physio Ian Gallagher.
“Andy trained at the end of the week and decided he didn’t feel he was near enough,” said Cooper. “He’s not trained on Monday or yesterday, he still doesn’t feel it’s quite right.
“We’ll continue to assess him, so we will just have to wait and see.”
With Marlon Harewood having returned from an ankle problem, the only other absentees are experienced campaigners, Neil Austin (toe) and Antony Sweeney (hamstring) who will not play again this season, and centre-half Christian Burgess.
The on-loan Middlesbrough defender is a doubt for the Easter programme, which means Scott Harrison is likely to continue at the heart of the defence.
Harrison was brought in as cover for injuries and suspension, as was his Sunderland team-mate, Connor Oliver.
Such is their importance to
l TURN to Page 38
Pools cause, Cooper plans to contact Sunderland Academy chief Kevin Ball to request that the young players do not feature for the Black Cats U21 side tomorrow.
Sunderland have a Barclays Premier Reserve League match against West Ham at noon.
“When Scott and Connor joined us, the idea was that if they were not playing for our first team that they would continue their football development with Sunderland’s Under 21 team,” said Cooper.
“Sunderland have a game tomorrow, but I think there’s a fairly strong chance they will be involved at Burton for us.”