Hartlepool team news: Matthew Bates returns

Matthew Bates.

Matthew Bates.

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Defender Matthew Bates returns to the Hartlepool United squad after two months on the sidelines.

The 29-year-old comes back into the centre of defence for this afternoon's FA Cup first round clash with Stamford.

Bates, who comes in for Scott Harrison, will partner Toto Nsiala at the back, with Liam Donnelly also dropping out of defence. Jordan Richards comes in on the right.

Craig Hignett has also turned to fringe men Michael Woods and Nicky Deverdics, who come into the Pools midfielder for Lewis Hawkins and the injured Nathan Thomas.

Pools XI: Trevor Carson, Jordan Richards, Toto Nsiala, Matthew Bates, Jake Carroll, Nicky Featherstone, Josh Laurent, Michael Woods, Lewis Alessandra, Padraig Amond, Nicky Deverdics.