Hartlepool United’s Rhys Oates can be impact player from bench

Rhys Oates celebrates in front of the Pools fans at Morecambe in April 2016. Picture by FRANK REID
Rhys Oates celebrates in front of the Pools fans at Morecambe in April 2016. Picture by FRANK REID

Dave Jones will give Rhys Oates every possible chance to be fit for Hartlepool United’s eagerly-awaited home clash with Portsmouth.

Oates had been in cracking form until limping off with a thigh problem in the 1-0 win at Cambridge.

The 22-year-old has not played in the subsequent defeats, to Wycombe and Blackpool, though he was named on the bench at Bloomfield Road.

Jones though revealed the forward could not have played after feeling a twinge in the warm-up. “He was back in the squad at Blackpool but he pulled up in the warm-up, he felt it, so we pulled him out straight away,” said the boss.

“We’ve been doing stuff with him this week and we’ve had the help of a local gym to do work there.

“Hopefully that will benefit him and we’ll assess him.

“We will wait on Rhys and a couple of other knocks.”

Three of the club’s most senior men, Billy Paynter, Trevor Carson and Carl Magnay, have yet to play under Jones and the manager said there is a chance one could feature against Pompey at the Northern Gas & Power Stadium.

“Billy has had an operation and he’s out for the season,” said the 60-year-old. “Trevor isn’t going to ready. We are looking at Mags to see maybe if he is on the bench.”

Jones is likely to keep faith with the side which performed well at Blackpool.