Hartlepool boss Ronnie Moore sweats on fitness of Carl Magnay for Plymouth Argyle clash

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Ronnie Moore will have his prayer mat out over the next 24 hours as he sweats on the fitness of Carl Magnay.

Hartlepool United, not for the first time this season, have something of a crisis at right-back.

It’s not brilliant at the moment to be honest

Ronnie Moore

Pools will be without first-choice number two Michael Duckworth who will be out until around mid-January.

And there is a major doubt over Magnay for tomorrow’s 20th v third clash against Plymouth Argyle at Victoria Park.

The skipper came off late in the FA Cup replay win against Salford City and while he has been superb in a midfield role this season he is needed for the right-back spot.

Moore rates him at 30-70 for the visit of the promotion chasers and the other options are not straight forward.

“It’s not brilliant at the moment to be honest,” said Moore.

“Ducky is going to be out for three or four weeks with a stomach muscle and Maggers we’ll have to wait and see.

“At this moment I would say it’s 70-30 against him being able to play.

“If he is not fit then we have a problem in that position.

“Jordy has only just returned from a bad back injury and Scotty played there at Mansfield and found it hard, but that was away from home.

“But he came on on Tuesday night and did pretty well there.

“I’m going to have to leave it to the last minute to se how Maggers is.

“Maggers was a right-back at Grimsby, that’s where he’s played most of his football.

“If you could split him in half that would be great!

“But at this present time we are having to use square pegs in round holes.”

If the Geordie does not pass a fitness test, Harrison is likely to be that square peg.

There will be one definite change with Kal Naismith returning after missing the last three matches.

The on-loan Portsmouth winger has missed the last three fixtures – he was cup-tied against Portsmouth and was not eligible to play at Pompey last Saturday.

Not only has Moore a tricky poser at right-back he must choose carefully further up the park.

The midfield proved a problem area on Tuesday night when they were pushed back by the Salford central players.

Moore had reverted to a 4-4-2 system at half-time at Portsmouth last Saturday after Pools had struggled to cope with the Pompey wide men.

Pools may be more comfortable against Plymouth with a 4-3-3 formation, it certainly worked well against Oxford in the last home league game when the title challengers were outplayed by the boys in blue.

If Moore goes with that, it is likely to mean a start for Michael Woods or Brad Walker in a midfield threesome with Nicky Featherstone and Jake Gray, who looks more comfortable – and dangerous – in that system.

Woods is often a better starter than sub and Walker vice-versa.

Pools (possible): Carson, Magnay (or Harrison), Jackson, Bates, Carroll, Featherstone, Gray, Woods, Naismith, Fenwick, Bingham

Subs (from): Bartlett, Richards, Harrison, Jones, Walker, Oyenuga, Oates, Smith