Hartlepool United-Exeter City: Team news, Kavanagh, Bates back in contention

Sean Kavanagh: Returned to training
Sean Kavanagh: Returned to training

Dave Jones hopes to have a fitness boost for Hartlepool United’s vital home date with Exeter City.

Defenders Sean Kavanagh and Matthew Bates are both back in training after recovering from hamstring trouble while the manager is awaiting news on Billy Paynter after the skipper had an injection in his Achilles.

Bates has not featured since limping off with a hamstring strain early in last month’s 3-0 defeat at Luton Town, while Kavanagh has sat out the last two matches.

Paynter has yet to play under Jones, with the 32-year-old’s last appearance coming as a sub in the 1-0 defeat at Crawley, Craig Hignett’s final game in charge.

“We’re hoping we can get one or two back, we’ll know tomorrow, we’ll leave it as late a possible,” said Jones, who will consult physio Ian Gallagher.

“We’ll work with what we have at the moment but if Buster [Gallagher] tells us we have more back then that’s a bonus.

“Sean and Batesy are back in and we’ll have to wait and see how Billy is.

“It looked like he’d be needing an op but they are trying something different to see if it will help him.

“Hopefully it’ll work, they don’t think it is severe enough to warrant an operation.

“If we can get two back, brilliant. If it’s three then that’s even better.”