Hartlepool team news: Matthew Bates out for Pools, as Craig Hignett opts for three at back

Matthew Bates.

Matthew Bates.

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Matthew Bates is missing from the Hartlepool United side to face Morecambe at the Vic this evening.

The experienced defender is absent from Craig Hignett's starting XI due to a back injury.

It is not thought to be serious, though, with the former Middlesbrough man rested, and expected to return on Monday when Pools visit Accrington.

As a result, the gaffer has made wholesale changes - opting for a three at the back with five in midfield and two up top.

Toto Nsiala comes into the side, alongside Scott Harrison and Liam Donnelly in defence.

Lewis Hawkins and Jake Carroll will play wide with Nicky Deverdics, in for Lewis Alessandra, Michael Woods, preferred to Josh Laurent, and Nicky Featherstone in the centre.

Padraig Amond, replacing Rhys Oates, supports Billy Paynter.

Pools XI: Carson, Harrison, Donnelly, Nsiala, Hawkins, Deverdics, Woods, Featherstone, Carroll, Amond, Paynter.

Subs: Bartlett, Walker, Oates, Alessandra, Amond, Paynter.