Hartlepool United defender ruled out of Checkatrade Trophy clash with Sunderland

Rob Jones.

Rob Jones.

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Veteran Hartlepool United centre-back Rob Jones has been ruled out of tomorrow night's Checkatrade Trophy clash against Sunderland.

The big defender has been missing since the 2-1 win at Yeovil Town on September 10, having been taken off with a hip problem.

And despite hopes he would make a return against the Black Cats' Under-21 side, having returned to training last week, the 36-year-old will not be risked.

It's understood a return to League Two action this weekend, when Crawley come to town, is not being ruled out for Jones, though.

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It's unlikely that Matthew Bates will be risked, too, with the former England youth international still recovering from bone bruising in his foot.

Pools will already be without the services of key duo Liam Donnelly and Trevor Carson on Tuesday night at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

Carson has joined up with Northern Ireland's senior squad for their World Cup qualification matches at Windsor Park against San Marino on Saturday and their trip to Hannover to take on defending champions Germany on Tuesday, October 11.

Donnelly is also away on international duty.

The 20-year-old, who has emerged as a key player for the League Two outfit in recent weeks, is expected to skipper Northern Ireland's Under-21s for their Euro qualifying double header over the next seven days.

Donnelly's side travel to Kiev's Obolon Arena to take on Ukraine on Thursday afternoon before hosting France a week on Tuesday.