Hartlepool United v Portsmouth: 15-goal Billy Paynter “in contention” for striking role v Pompey

Looking up: Billy Paynter. Picture by FRANK REID
Looking up: Billy Paynter. Picture by FRANK REID

Billy Paynter is set to return to the Hartlepool United side for Saturday’s League Two clash with Portsmouth.

The 15-goal striker has missed the last five games with a hamstring strain picked up in the 1-0 defeat at Carlisle United.

Billy feels all right so he will be back in contention for Saturday, definitely

CRAIG HIGNETT

Pools boss Craig Hignett said this morning that Paynter would train today and tomorrow having responded well to treatment and come through light training.

“Billy has had a hard week,” said Hignett.

“He feels all right so he will be back in contention for Saturday, definitely.

“He will join in with training today.”

While Pools won 5-2 at Morecambe in his first game out, the side have been hit and miss without their talisman, winning two and losing three.

“Billy coming back is a boost for everyone,” said Hignett.

“He is important to how we play and when you are having an off-day in the final third, he can get hold of the ball, keep it, let players join in and get us further up the pitch.

“But the lads have done great – we went to Morecambe without him and scored five, but we struggled a little bit at Notts County and Oxford in the final third.”

Hignett though says watching Pools minus Paynter has taught him much.

“It’s been good for me to see for me what we have and what we need,” he added.