MICK Wadsworth hopes the forthcoming break will see some of his walking wounded return to action and spark an upturn in Hartlepool United’s ailing fortunes.
The Pools manager is reluctant to use injuries as an excuse for a crippling run of seven straight home defeats.
But Wadsworth, desperate to shuffle his pack, admits the loss of pivotal players in key positions has left him hamstrung when it comes to adopting a fresh approach.
Captain Sam Collins, missing during the last four matches because of a calf strain, has returned to training, while James Brown, struck down with a groin problem earlier this month, is also showing signs of recovery.
And Wadsworth is hoping the 10-day break between now and a week Saturday’s trip to Brentford will see them bolster the options available to him.
“I don’t want to use injuries as an excuse because our home form has been desperate,” he told SportMail,
“But Sam Collins, our captain and our leader, has been out for a few games now and we’ve missed him.
“Brownie, also, was just hitting absolute hot spots in terms of being ready and would have played against Stevenage earlier this month – and then got this damn groin problem.
“But Sam has started training and so has Brownie.
“We’ve invested a lot of time and effort getting Brownie fit, so now he’s got to pick up from where he was.
“Hopefully, after this weekend Sam and Brownie will both be ready for Brentford.”
Elsewhere, forward duo Colin Nish and Colin Larkin remain sidelined following knee surgery, leaving Wadsworth with just two recognised strikers – Adam Boyd and James Poole – and midfielder-cum-frontman Andy Monkhouse as attacking personnel at his disposal.
Nish and Larkin are expected to be out until Christmas at the earliest and Wadsworth admits their eventual return.
Read more about Wadsworth’s injury hopes in today’s Sportmail.