Can defenders play way into Hartlepool United squad?

Ben Pollock plays for Pools reserves today
Ben Pollock plays for Pools reserves today

Brad Walker may have done enough to suggest he will get an extended run at centre-half for Hartlepool United.

But, given the injury situation at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium, some of the young players on the club’s books might get the chance to play their way into the matchday squad this afternoon.

Pools Reserves today visit Rotherham United for a Central League game (kick-off 1pm) with teenager Ben Pollock and youth system product Josh Nearney likely to line up at the centre of Ian McGuckin’s defence.

Manager Dave Jones only had six subs on his bench on Saturday for the match against Plymouth Argyle, the only defender up his sleeve being the diminutive young left-back James Martin.

With the squad’s most experienced centre-halves Matthew Bates (hamstring) and Rob Jones (knee) both definitely out and Liam Donnelly (ankle) still not fit, the boss is unlikely to go to Colchester this Saturday without any cover.

Dave Jones can’t risk having no one to come on should there be an injury to Scott Harrison or Walker or, heavens forbid, both.

McGuckin will today be in charge of a youthful Pools side with no trialists likely to be involved.

Promising winger Jack Blackford, currently on loan at Darlington, is set to play.

Meanwhile, Pools will have representatives at a game 175 miles further south this evening when Saturday’s oponents Colchester face Wycombe in League Two.