Hartlepool United will miss striker duo at MK Dons opener

Hartlepool United player James Brown
Hartlepool United player James Brown
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HARTLEPOOL United will be without forward duo James Brown and Colin Larkin for Saturday’s League One kick off at MK Dons.

Brown has endured yet another stop-start pre-season and his progress has been curtailed by minor niggles and strains.

The talented hitman has been plagued by fitness issues in recent years but his ability has never been in doubt, evidenced by his goal-of-the-season contender in the 1-0 win at Bournemouth last term.

Brown’s latest setback is an inflamed ankle which kept him out of Ritchie Humphreys’ testimonial match against Sunderland on Tuesday.

And the problem will almost certainly see him left out of the trip to Milton Keynes.

“James has had a swelling on his ankle which came up out of nowhere,” he said of the 23-year-old who was handed a one-year extension to his contract in May.

“As a result we’ve just had to shut him down, which is unfortunate.

“He’d been doing okay and was getting there and we’re hopeful this isn’t a big problem.”

Larkin, meanwhile, turned his ankle during the weekend defeat at York City and hasn’t trained since.

He will also be left behind in the North East when Pools venture south for their season opener.

Wadsworth added: “Colin got a knock on his ankle at York and that ruled him out of Ritchie’s game.

“Like James he’ll be struggling for Saturday and we can virtually count them out.”

Neither player, however, would have started at Stadium:MK and just one change is expected to the side which lined up against The Black Cats.

That will either be Adam Boyd or Paul Murray coming in for Humphreys and Wadsworth’s comments to SportMail today suggest it could be the latter who gets the nod.

Full story in Thursday’s Mail